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

Youth & Young Adult Ministry: Perseverance, Not Perfection
By Alison Blanchet
“Parenting was so much easier when I raised my non-existent children hypothetically”. A friend shared this meme with me a few months ago, and it resonated. Before I became a mom, I had lofty ideas about how much screen time and fresh fruit children should consume. My parent-self, on the other hand, decided screen time doesn’t count if it’s Veggie... Read more
Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
The Treasure We Give With the smell of Domino’s pepperoni pizza in the air and the sound of girly giggles that had not quite settled down, a group of 50 or so high school students crowded in small groups on the carpet floor of the parish center on a Sunday night, ready for another catechetical lesson in the St. Gertrude youth ministry program. As... Read more
Children's Catechesis: Contemplation for Each of Us
By Sophie Galloy
Can a businessperson aspire to contemplation? A parent? A teenager? A young child? Don’t we usually see it as a privilege reserved for monks and cloistered nuns? Father Marie Eugene of the Child Jesus would say that each of us is capable of genuine contact with God, including the young child. Blessed Marie-Eugene was a French Carmelite priest born... 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