Youth and Young Adult Ministry: Why Traditional Catechesis Bores Many Young Adults

Authored by Marcel LeJeune in Issue #2.3 of The Catechetical Review

Trying to catechize a young adult who has never had a conversion to Jesus is like trying to teach marine biology to someone who has never seen an ocean. We might be able to transmit some knowledge, but we might also leave him or her disinterested to the reality that the ocean is dynamic, beautiful, and powerful.

Herein lies the issue in many of our current catechetical models with young adults in the Catholic Church: our sequence, method, and execution of young adult faith formation is not working because it is out of order, ineffective, and unattractive to young people.

The statistics tell us only one side of the story, yet they also help frame our problem with young adults in the Catholic Church. According to Pew Research, only 30% of Catholic adults are still “practicing” their faith (that is, attend Mass at least monthly). Another 38% self-identify as Catholics, though they rarely attend Mass. That leaves nearly 32% who no longer identify as Catholics.[i] In the young adult population, the numbers are even worse.
Other questions arise: How many of those who go to Mass are intentional disciples who understand their identity as children of God? How many are open to sharing their faith? How many are seeking out opportunities to serve the poor? How many have a personal prayer life? How many are making good moral decisions?

While the numbers can seem overwhelming, the opportunities to make a change to something better are everywhere. For decades, the Church’s mode of operation with young adults in the average local community hasn’t changed much. Consequently, most young people feel disenfranchised from the Church and many have stopped caring about faith issues at all.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Catechetical Review (Online Edition ISSN 2379-6324) and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of The Catechetical Review by contacting editor@catechetics.com

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Pursuing Holiness in the Single Life
By Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Free Maybe it’s too much of a stretch to say that an unmarried tailor who lived with his mother is the reason communism fell in the west. Then again, maybe it’s not. Venerable Jan Tyranowski was, in many respects, an ordinary working class bachelor. But when he was 35, a homily changed his life. “It is not difficult to become a saint,” the priest said... Read more
Catechetical Metanoia: On Trying Something New
By Jason Gawaldo
During Advent of 2015, I was praying through the Prophet Isaiah when the Lord hit me over the head with these words, “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not. See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Is 43:18-19). Eight years into ministry at that point, I was keenly aware of... Read more
Children's Catechesis: Honoring the Dignity of Each Child
By Lani Bogart
In my role as a director of religious education, I have listened to catechists make sweeping statements about their students, “These kids today don’t care about anything.” “Most of them don’t even want to be here.” Admittedly, such words are spoken in moments of frustration. I have also heard teachers make sentimental statements about their... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now