More information is here: Young Adult Ministry
The Catholic Church is hemorrhaging young people. Half of young Americans who were raised Catholic no longer identify as Catholic today. Roughly eight in ten (79%) who shed their faith leave before age 23.
Few experiences cause more despair than having a child leave the Church. Most parents feel helpless. They’re desperate to draw their child back to the Church, but they don’t know what to do. We need to understand the landscape and the real reasons why our young people drift away. Then, once we understand the problem, we need a game plan to bring them home.
That’s precisely what the RETURN Video Course will give you.
i.d.9:16 is an exciting new outreach dedicated to helping form young adults (20/30s, married, single, with or without kids) into intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. i.d.9:16 is an evangelization and discipleship program that equips parishes to create communities of young adult missionary disciples. Here's a short video that describes who we are and what i.d.9:16 is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwwtZnnlQXI
Too often, church leaders have relied on outdated assumptions and limited anecdotes for their approach to young adults. But these are weak foundations for any congregation upon which to build their ministry.
Instead, effective young adult ministry requires solid data and facts. But where do we start looking? The data is almost limitless: sociological works by Christian Smith, Robert Wuthnow, and Dean Hoge and; extensive studies done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) or the Pew Research Center.
The data is almost limitless: Sociological works include those by Christian Smith, Robert Wuthnow, and Dean Hoge as well as extensive studies from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and the Pew Research Center.
A consortium of academic and congregational leaders from across the United States has recently compiled much of that information into a series of essays. They hope to reflect on the implications that this data will have for churches and their efforts with young adults. This ecumenical effort, called The Changing SEA Project (SEA stands for "spirituality of emerging adults"), has released a number of these essays online, which you are welcome to view.
The Changing SEA is a great one-stop shop for young adult ministers and provides some great data (and academic reflection) on which good outreach and ministry might be built or enhanced.
We know you’re busy. If your community is like most parishes and campus ministries, resources are limited. Money is tight, staff is stretched, and adding new responsibilities to your job description is not a possibility. Unfortunately, outreach to young adults (20s and 30s) often gets short shrift at a time when – countless studies have shown – ministry to young adults is needed more than ever. Perhaps you’ve been approached by young adults about starting a ministry. Maybe you’ve just seen a new young face in your assembly and realized you don’t have anything to invite them to. Or perhaps your parish has made a concerted effort to reach out to this missing demographic.
The fact is ministry to young adults is notoriously difficult because:
- Young adults are still highly transient.
- Competition for their time and attention is fierce.
- They are not typically “joiners” of church groups.
These challenges are actually an invitation to conceive of Young Adult Ministry in a completely different light.
While other ministries require full-time directors, young adult ministry is about empowering young adults by offering structures, programs and best practices so they can build the ministry themselves. Busted Halo® and the National Catholic Young Adult Ministers Association (NCYAMA) have designed a resource that incorporates these elements as well as the experiences and advice of the most talented young adult ministers in the United States. Young Adult Ministry in a Box is an online subscription to a resource kit that will help you create and sustain a vibrant young adult ministry with minimal staff time at minimal cost with maximum results.
With Young Adult Ministry in a Box your community can:
- Become a place where young adults feel welcome and valued
- Provide meaningful programs and events that meet the spiritual, social, and developmental needs of the young adults in your community
- Benefit from the energy and vibrant discipleship that an effective young adult ministry will bring
Our Recipe for Success
Young Adult Ministry in a Box has three major elements:
1. Young Adult Ministry Essentials: The “how to” section, creating the structure, outreach, promoting programs, and building ongoing support
2. Step-by-Step Programs: A detailed list of program and event types with tips on planning and hosting each, including an ever expanding list of topics
3. Ministry Mentors: In addition to all this information, Young Adult Ministry in a Box gives you direct one-on-one access to experienced young adult ministers – advice from experts who have designed and led successful, effective programs and are available to answer your questions and help you respond to the challenges of young adult ministry.
You can do this. Successful young adult ministry will look different in an urban parish than it does in a rural one. A campus community with mostly single students will offer different programs and take a different approach than a suburban church with young couples and many new parents. You may be coming to young adult ministry with a great deal of ministry experience but little knowledge of who young adults are today or maybe you’re a young adult who wants more for yourself and your peers but needs to know how to partner with your parish to make that happen. Young Adult Ministry in a Box offers the tools, knowledge, and information you need to design a ministry that will be successful in your community no matter who you are, or where you are.
Here’s How Your Subscription Works:
- For $299 (use discount code INTRO12 to receive the special introductory offer of $249) you will receive full access to Young Adult Ministry in a Box for one year.
- One annual subscription authorizes up to three users. (On multiple devices? Yes!)
- You will have access to exclusive content, including Essentials for ministry, Step-by-Step Programs, and young adult Ministry Mentors.
- You will receive weekly e-mails with tips and other resources.
- You will have private access to a network of experienced young adult ministers.
- You will be given two 45-minute sessions with Ministry Mentors.
- You will receive new Step-by-Step Programs seasonally and have access to all previously posted programs.
Why Sign up?
5 Reasons You'll Love Being a Subscriber of Young Adult Ministry in a Box:
- We’ve found the best practices and best resources for young adult ministry and put them all in one place
- Young adult ministers have tested these resources – and they work!
- You’ll receive new tips and ideas every week
- We have all the tools you need to build your ministry from scratch
- One-on-one access to Ministry Mentors gets you answers to your tough young adult ministry questions
Attracting Young Adults to the Catholic Church
A concern of many Catholics today (not just of pastors and bishops) is “where are the young Catholics?” It can be a scary sight, to enter a church and to see that demographic absent. Simply putting a bulletin insert inviting “20 somethings” to a prayer group might not be enough (especially if they aren’t in the church to read the bulletin). In a 2008 article titled “Sowing the Seeds for Ministry: Five Ways to Reach Young Catholics,” author/theologian Tim Muldoon, took a look at this issue and produced his five “Cs” for attracting young Catholics.
Muldoon looks at the importance of Community. Sometimes I think we overlook its importance in the spiritual life. Our culture has embraced the notion of “I am spiritual, but not religious.” Muldoon would argue that community plays a significant role in ones growth spiritually, “young adults have experienced displacement, often through college or professional life.” He goes on to explain how Theology on Tap can play an effective part of supplying this age group with a forum to discuss and learn their faith, and I wholeheartedly agree. But, there are other ways to engage the communal aspect of the faith that the young church longs for. The USCCB, in the book Connecting Young Adults to Catholic Parishes, offers some other creative ideas: holding faith formation breakfasts or lunches (outside of the church proper), watching sports games together and reflecting on the gospel values of competition, using media and best sellers to stir up discussion groups, as well as faith sharing opportunities within the parish.
The next step is Cooperation. It is obvious that maintaining a good working relationship with young adults can be a difficult task. We live in a fast paced world and workplace where people are prone to leave for new job opportunities, get married and have children, or even frequently go back to school to further their education. So how can we cooperate with such a vastly changing demographic? A good suggestion is offering a variety of activities—liturgical, social and service. Also, offering them at a variety of times allows for people to fit it into their already busy schedules.
Communication is the third “C.” We live in the 21st century and though the printed word is not dead, but it may not be where the young adults are. Jesus in his ministry (1-3 years depending on whose side you are on) made it a habit of meeting people where they were spiritually and physically. Jesus had no problem going out to the tax collector and the fisherman alike and inviting them to follow his teachings. We may not have to go to the shores of Galilee, but perhaps just the Internet. Here are some free (I know, it is odd, but some things are still free) ways to utilize the web: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. These tools (yes, I said tools) can make reaching the younger Catholic audience immensely easier.
Consultation, cultivating young adult leadership to minister to their peers, is terribly important. It will be a long-term investment, but can bare great fruit for a local parish and a diocese on a whole. Forming young leadership with a good mission plan or statement can be very beneficial for a parish.
Lastly (and I think it’s interesting Muldoon chose to put this last) is Catechesis. What is Catechesis? The simple answer is the “Catholic stuff” that makes us unique from our Protestant brothers and sisters, but Muldoon seems to think of it as not only doctrine, but doctrine mixed with spiritual growth. The idea is to apply the doctrine in a way that leads to a more fruitful spiritual life and a true friendship with the risen Jesus Christ. Following these five steps might not be simple, but they may prove to be very fruitful. We need to educate and form the next generation of Catholics, and this might be a good way to start.
Reprinted from the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association ~ www.ncyama.org.
- USCCB. Connecting Young Adults to Catholic Parishes: Best Practices in Catholic Young Adult Ministry. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-57455-546-2.
- Cusick, John, C. and DeVries, Katherine F. The Basic Guide to Young Adult Ministry. Maryknoll, New York: 2001. ISBN: 1-57075-392-X.
- USCCB. Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Revised Edition, 2010. ISBN: 978-160137-090-7.