Beware Of Content Fatigue

After Mass one weekend, I ran into a teen who I rarely talk to. We made small talk until I asked her the question, “How’s your small group going?” She replied, “It’s okay, but the videos we are watching as a group are a little boring.” She winced, waiting for my response. Internally I was disappointed by her feedback, but she had a point. Her group had been going through the same content for a while, and it can get old quickly.

Whether you are outsourcing resources or creating your own, it’s really easy for a ministry to fall into content fatigue. When teens start to disengage or even get annoyed by the content, it can kill your momentum. We tend to switch up resources and go with a new curriculum, but that will only lead you down the same path.

If you are afraid of content fatigue, then it’s essential to:


Your leaders need to have a backup plan. I have a few leaders who carry around with them a list of hypothetical situations or questions if they feel that the content isn’t landing with the teens. Other leaders carry around a deck of cards to break up the awkward silence that can sometimes form in small groups. While it’s good to have an agenda for your content, remember it’s not always going to be relevant to what is happening in your teens’ lives. It’s during those situations when leaders have to be ready to adapt.

To help your team prepare, make sure you remind them of the importance of listening and learning about their teens. The more they know about what is happening in their daily lives, the deeper you can go with the conversation. A good habit is to have your leaders start the conversation by asking the teens, “What went well this week, and what did not?” (aka Highs and Lows). 

If the leader listens, they will be able to pull content out of their answer. If they get simple short answers, encourage your adults to ask the teens to follow up questions. This will enable your leaders to pull information that could tie in nicely with what you are covering as a group.


Teens will get tired if they think all you are doing is talking at them. If your ministry wants to grow young disciples, it’s about providing other opportunities outside a large and small group setting. When you create opportunities like retreats and mission trips, you provide an experience to help them process some of the bigger topics (e.g., corporal works of mercy) pertaining to our faith. Make sure teens are serving and participating in worship opportunities (in addition to Mass) so that you can broaden their exposure to the richness of our faith. 

And while it’s great to do that during your designated time, try to take advantage of the events occurring in your parish. If your church hosts a monthly adoration service, invite teens to join. If your parish has an upcoming outreach event, make sure teens attend. Use what you have.


One of the issues we face with content is that it caters to a specific audience that isn’t relevant to your teens. There is also content out there that is so general that it can grow stale for someone who has grown up in the faith. To avoid staleness, it’s important that different levels of formation and how teens move through them have to be intentional.

Our parish is partnering with groups like Young Life and Youth For Christ to reach those teens who have never been to church. It’s through this partnership that some of those teens will make their way to our church doors. When they are walk-in, we want to plug them into an introductory group and address the basics using content like Alpha Youth

After they walk through that program, we then plug them into a permanent small group. Those groups meet through the duration of their middle school and high school years. After that, we work with our small group leaders to curate content beyond our weekly message. This could be something they find on youtube or through a subscription service like Formed. Either way, we want to know teens that they aren’t following a program and that there are multiple levels to their faith.

Whether you create your own or outsource your content, it is critical to know that your ministry is more than what you teach. Invest in the relational and interactive aspects of the ministry in addition to your content, and you’ll continue to grow healthy, strong, and bold disciples.

How do you keep content fresh for your ministry?

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