I could finally breathe. Mass had started for our students receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. The focus was now on them. I could just sit back and enjoy.
I wasn’t always a fan. In fact I used to resent Confirmation preparation. It was attracting too many demanding consumers. People just wanted to get in and out. It also brought along:
There is no union so precious and so fruitful between husband and wife as
that of holy devotion, in which they should mutually lead and sustain each other. - St. Francis de Sales, the Devout Life
A week ago my wife, Kate and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. I’m happy to say that our relationship is stronger than it was when we first got married. Granted, in the honeymoon phase nothing can go wrong, but then you have that first fight.
I’ve got a great pastor, and we’ve got a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, it has not always been smooth sailing. There have been times when I’ve disrespected his authority by chewing him out in front of others. There have been times when he’s made decisions without hearing me out. What’s gotten us through is a commitment to communicate and work through the tension. In the end the results have not only been a great relationship but a powerful advocacy for the student program.
A question I hear often is, “How do I get my pastor on board?” It’s a question filled with emotion and tension. You want what you do to matter to him and if it appears like it doesn’t the feelings of isolation increase. It’s not that he doesn’t care, in fact he probably does greatly. The problem is that there is some drop in the communication that bring unnecessary tension to the relationship. To resolve this and bring him on board you need to:
Some of the best memories I have from high school are of the adults that invested in me personally. They sat with me through my parent’s divorce. They were knowledgeable and relational in their faith. They showed me how to persevere in life and, as a youth minister I want to pass that on.
Youth ministry needs to be relational in order to be flexible with the chaos of life. Relational ministry reminds teens that they are not alone. It also gives parents a solid partner in ministry. To make your ministry relational you not only need small groups and adults who care about teens, you also need to:
Today we wrap up another year of SMILE Work Camp. This camp is a week filled with service and fellowship for middle school students. For a long time it was a struggle to find service opportunities for middle school. So, 6 years ago I got together with 3 other youth ministers and we created a work camp where middle school students could serve in Baltimore City and it’s surrounding areas. When we first started it was hard to get participants, today we fill up in a matter of days.
When it comes to getting middle school students involved in service there are a lot of challenges you will face. There are age restrictions and extra precautions. Doesn’t matter if it’s a day of serving or a week long work camp the idea of coordinating a group of middle school students to serve can be overwhelming. To approach it properly and fold service into your middle school ministry’s DNA, you should: