Are you being asked to create a program based on someone else’s idea of what that program should be?
Are you not comfortable with how that program is set up, or the message it delivers, or even the day/time you are supposed to be offering it?
We know that our teens & young adults are looking for authenticity. We know they are able to see through a phony message. Youth Ministry requires adaptability and the flexibility to meet each teen where they are. That may be the teen who is comfortable with daily Mass and regular reception of the Sacraments or the teen who won’t set foot in church and has no idea what Eucharistic Adoration or evangelization even mean.
So what do we do about it?
Bring it to Prayer!
And ask trusted friends to pray about it with you and to pray for you.
Talk to the person who is asking you to create or use a specific program.
What is their motivation? Cost? Content? Familiarity?
Sometimes a program looks or sounds good simply because it is packaged and sold properly. We’ve all seen the commercials which make us run out and buy things we don’t need, and then we end up leaving them on the shelf. This should not be the way Youth Ministry is run.
Explain your idea for your ministry program.
Show your passion. Show your knowledge of the teens you wish to reach. Explain what resources you will be using.
Be able to talk about past successes or others who have used similar formats. If you have others on your ministry team, bring them into the discussion and have them explain the dynamic of your format.
If you must go with a specific program – ask for a list of expectations and deadlines.
Request a trial period and a follow up meeting so that if the program truly is not going to work for you or the teens, the program is not the only option. Ask the person bringing you the program to help with it, so they can see firsthand how it is working, or not working.
Be true to yourself!
Who knows? Trying something new may work for you. It may bring out some hidden gifts and talents to help you with your ministry. But, if the style of the program does not work for you, you need to prayerfully consider moving on to something else. Christ managed to collect an interesting mixture of disciples to go forth with His message. They did not all speak the same language or have the same background. Each preached in his own style, in words and ways that his congregation would understand and relate to. We are still relating to that message. It’s up to each of us to prayerfully acknowledge how Christ is calling us and what language, or program, or method of preaching we are supposed to be using. We need to go forward with confidence, living out the message we are bringing forth.
Christ is not telling us to fit into one boxed program. He is expecting us to go forth and lead others to Him. We need to be authentic daughters and sons of God, living our lives as examples of Christ as best we can within our humanity. One Size does NOT fit all – but one faith does have room for all.