The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

Youth & Young Adult Catechesis: Ministering to Millennials

Authored by Bob Rice in Issue #29.4 of The Sower
Bob Rice asks what cultural reference-points we use in our youth ministry. If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then my youth minister should have felt pretty good about himself when I started doing full-time ministry. I was a teen in the late 80s, and after college found myself working for a parish in the mid 90s. I mostly did what I experienced as a youth. My subconscious mantra was, ‘If it worked back then, it will work now!’ So I played the games we used to play and sang a lot of the same songs. We weren’t wearing jean jackets, the girls didn’t have bangs, and we weren’t jamming out to Boy George and the Culture Club- but other than that it could have come right out of 1987. Many of the cultural references I used were from my childhood, not theirs. I almost had a heart attack when I realized that 75% of my teens had never seen Star Wars. As opposed to updating my analogies, I immediately declared the next Sunday a movie night, and you can guess which science fiction epic I made them watch. This went on for a few years until I realized I had fallen into one of the most common traps that plague people who work with youth and young adults: I wasn’t ministering to them as they were, I was ministering to me as I was.

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This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

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