best practices youth ministry

Why A One Dimensional Ministry Hurts Your Parish

I used to function under the belief that if I created a dynamic program for teenagers, they would come. That meant incredible music, off the chart games and powerful messages. It also included comprehensive content, an irresistible environment, and the latest technology. I believed that if I could make that happen then it would not matter what night we held our ministry on, people would come.

People did come, but not everyone stayed and we were still missing a lot of people. To an outsider, our programs looked like a success, but it had holes because our ministry was one dimensional. Our ministry was a program and that was it.

It’s our responsibility as youth ministers to introduce teens to the fullness of their faith and while a program can help we need to go beyond that approach. Instead of being one dimensional the youth ministry in our parishes needs to be multidimensional because:

No program is designed for every teenager

While there are several stereotypes that fit most teens, there are many that miss the point. Certain programs are designed for:

  • Extroverted teens when there are plenty of introverted ones in your parish.
  • Families where faith is a priority where the teen might be the only one who believes.
  • Teenagers who have free weekends when others are free during the week.

I think we all know this but the pushback is that we don’t have time to create a multi-dimensional ministry. We might not have the time or energy on our own but we can with a team who will help you. By building a team of volunteers you can expand your capacity to reach a variety of teens. If you are looking for help in that check out our Building A Dynamic Team Course at MYM U.

Build Your Team

You won’t be able to cover everything there is to know about our faith

A single program can’t cover everything you need to know about your faith. Even Catholic schools that meet with students 5 days a week struggle to get every bit of Truth across. Some ministries respond by just pushing harder and others to focus on making the church a place that’s fun. The approach should be investing in a few spiritual habits that lead to deeper experiences and self-learning. Those are habits like:

  • Personal prayer
  • Sacramental living
  • Tithing
  • Serving in ministry
  • Getting involved in outreach
  • Connecting in accountable relationships
  • Diving deeper into scripture

The list could go on, but if you focus on a few and encourage the teens to go further then you’ll show them how to unlock the richness of our faith. If you want to give your teens a full experience of their faith then you need to connect them with opportunities throughout the parish. The next generation needs to serve with older generations so that they can encounter mentoring and intergenerational relationships.

A culture of discipleship comes from a variety of sources

Programs have a place in your ministry but they should not be your whole ministry. To show teens the fullness of their faith you need to make sure you provide opportunities and relationships that allow them to experience it. This is where a simple ministry becomes comprehensive and while we all want something that is unique and caters to every teen’s need that can also be complicated.

If you are going to build a multidimensional ministry you need to start thinking beyond programs. To help you get there you do need a team of leaders who will help you create the systems and structures needed to reach the next generation.

When you join Marathon Youth Ministry University we give you those tools through a variety of courses and personalized coaching. If you’ve never checked out MYM U before now is a perfect time. Imagine heading into 2020 with a discipleship plan that not only reaches the next generation but helps them impact their community. To get started just click below.

A multidimensional youth ministry is one that shows teenagers and their families the beautiful gifts of the church. It reminds us that faith is more than a subject, it’s a way of life that connects us to something fuller than the world could ever offer. Don’t get stuck on a program or curriculum, build a team and create a path and God will bless it.

What does your discipleship plan look like for teenagers?

Enroll In MYMU Today

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