Is youth ministry a calling, a vocation, or just another job? For me, at least, it was a call. Even in the seminary, I never would have guessed I’d be a blogger on the top Catholic Youth Ministry blog. Since ordination is approaching – I’m leaving for Rome for my ordination tonight – I’ve begun reflecting on how I got here.
Maybe it isn’t a call for everyone. A little theory then my story.
I don’t want to speak against those who do it as just another job – you too make a great sacrifice for the Church as you could make more money elsewhere. I don’t think everyone who does it needs to be called. However, I think someone who sees it as a calling will do more than someone who sees it as a 2nd income in the home. If I was just looking for the bell at the end of the day, I would have never bothered with this blog or so much else. Because the Church depends on good families and good youth ministry, we who do youth ministry need to take our role seriously.
So, here’s my story. As I mentioned before, I’m a bit of a nerd. I was not on the school’s basketball team but the debate team and in the computer programming club. When I entered the seminary, I figured there was a good chance I’d end as a professor since I seemed to blow away every test and always had the toughest questions for the teachers.
After 5 years in the seminary, we usually go out to work in the field. I was certain anything but teens and kids – I’d talk over their head and they’d understand nothing. Yet the letters were read and that’s just what I got.
My superiors must have some reason for doing this, I figured. I guessed that if I tried hard I’d either succeed or fail in manner that would tell my superiors to put me in another apostolate. I succeeded. And I did not just pass the test but I raised the bar. After only a short while, I asked around for written-up service projects so I would have some ideas. I got different ideas in different formats. These became the apostolates published as part of the Conquest program. I’ve written more for Conquest and Challenge since then.
By the end of 4 years of working in the field as a brother, I needed to return to the seminary. I knew that within my call to be a priest and religious was the call to do youth ministry in North America.
That’s my story. Please share your story below.