Well, there is this situation. Currently I am involved in youth ministry at the parish that Andy and I attend, which has a part-time Coordinator of Youth Ministry (CYM). In my practicum course in my program at school, this is my placement for the year.
The situation is this: the CYM and I are trying to build comprehensive youth ministry at the parish. This means that we are trying to work towards youth being invited, welcomed, and involved at all levels of community life within the parish. Rather simple concept, and is supported both by science, in terms of what kids need to succeed and demonstrate low at-risk behaviour (see Search Institute’s 40 Assets) as well as supported by our Christian heritage, where we believe that all the baptised have a right and responsibility to participate fully in the life and mission of the church (age is not the determinant of participation).
In dialogue with some leaders in this parish (key leaders), they have told us in no uncertain terms that youth are unreliable, that they never show up, that the youth have to take the initiative if they want to be involved in anything at this parish, and that they are unwelcome if they do not do this.
The question we carry is this: where do we go from here?
Now, I am looking for insight from others in this situation. I am not looking for more criticism (honestly, I am one of the biggest critics of the situation already, being involved in this), I am looking for constructive ideas, thoughts, musings, into different approaches to working through this issue. If thinking of it as a case study helps, then by all means, think of it as such. If anyone needs more information, I would be pleased to provide it if it is to the purpose of helping provide insight. I know many of you are involved in youth ministry – I would greatly appreciate thoughts from you on this.
That’s about all. Feel free to email me if leaving a comment isn’t a comfortable thing for you to do. Thanks so much in advance to all who are able to provide some help and insight.