To Be Understood When an adult takes a genuine interest in a teenager and seeks first to understand, that adult earns the right to be heard. If adults want to hand on the Faith to teenagers, they must seek first to understand what is going on in their lives and hearts. To Belong It is often the case that teenagers will compromise the morals in which they have been raised in order to belong somewhere. On the other hand, if adults create an environment where teens are known, loved, and cared for, they create an ideal environment to hand on the Faith.
To Be Transparent Sadly, teenagers today rarely have the freedom to be transparent, especially with one another. It is too dangerous to be vulnerable in a peer-dominated world focused on image and popularity. A small group where trust and transparency are established gives teenagers the security to be transparent. To Engage in Critical Thinking Teens are in the process of becoming their own person. They want to be treated as adults and no longer want to be told what to do or what to believe. They are critically evaluating what they have been raised to believe, and they are no longer interested in answers to questions they are not asking.
Interesting topics, thought-provoking questions, lively discussion, dialogue, and freedom of expression engage teenagers in critical thinking.
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To Be Mentored Teenagers need dialogue, collaboration, and friendship with adults in order to become adults themselves. Relationships with adults help them answer the deep fundamental questions like: Am I lovable? Am I capable? What difference does my life make? Teens need be challenged to greatness through the direction, encouragement, and support of caring adults. It is a well-known educational principle that young people rise to the level of our expectations of them.
With the help of loving, faith-filled adults, teenagers will be more likely to give their lives to Jesus.
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Partner with Parents Study after study shows that parents are the primary influencer of teenagers faith life. There is no program that can replace them, but often ministries relegate parents to chaperones and snack-providers.
YDisciple is different. We recommend partnering with parents from the beginning to help form the group, host the group when possible , and sustain the group as it grows.
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YDisciple also makes sharing the content of the group with parents easy, so parents can be aware of what is discussed and small groups can serve as a springboard for faith-sharing in the home. Are you a parent? Engage other Faithful Adults Your parish may have a youth minister or maybe even two.
Your parish may have no youth minister at all or a person who wears multiple hats, youth ministry being just one. Even a full-time youth minister cannot adequately meet the needs of all the teen in his or her parish boundaries. Equipping other caring adults in the parish to become, in a sense, co-youth ministers, focused on the needs and customizing the formation of the handful of teens in their group.
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Start Small YDisciple is scalable. Whether you have a thriving youth group at your parish or you are a small parish with only a handful of teens at all, we recommend that you start just one or two small groups. If a small number of groups get off the ground well, expect organic growth.
Teens will start talking. Parents will start talking. Others will want to start groups not because of a flyer, but because of word-of-mouth. Think: Mustard Seed to Movement. Working with my teens form a discipleship group gave me an opportunity to talk with them about faithful friends and evangelization.
This is just what they needed after Confirmation. They look forward to meeting each week, asking questions, and getting answers they can trust. Discipleship gives them a solid foundation as they step into adult life in the Church. We tried a large group model of youth ministry at our small, rural parish for several years.
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