How Do We Make This a Home?
How Do We Make this a Home?
If our mission is to bring teens into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ by welcoming every teen, as family, into a home in which they are blessed when they walk through our doors, while they are here, and when they leave, how do we know we are accomplishing our mission?
Beyond Numbers: 6 Core Commitments to Growing Young
In the book Growing Young, members of the Fuller Youth Institute found through their research 6 Core Commitments that are necessary for a Church to "Grow Young". Essentially, growing young delineates an intentioned strategy of a congregation to act on the reality that the Church needs young people and young people need the Church in order to survive, thrive and accomplish the mission given by Jesus. These six Core Commitments can be applied to the specific mission of St. Anthony Youth Ministry to identify both concrete actions to successfully implement our mission and indicate measures for assessment that go beyond the numbers of "how many showed up". These Core Commitments are identified in the chart below. For more information on Growing Young, click here.
Where We Are (A Brief Summary of our current Ministry)
For a brief history of St. Anthony Youth Ministry, click here.
Anchor: 5th-6th Grade Young People
Anchor is our brand new program for 5-6th grade that seeks to offer solid formation in a dynamic Youth Ministry setting. Still in the design phase and launching this Fall. For more information, click here.
EDGE: 7th-8th Grade Teens
St. Anthony's currently serves around 300 7th-8th grade teens in our EDGE program. This program includes weekly catechetical events (EDGE Nights) specifically geared toward evangelization and initial proclamation. We currently view EDGE as forming the "roots" of our ministry, designing a two year curriculum that focuses on the Person and Mission of Jesus Christ (Year A) and the nature and life of the Church (Year B). Our program is led by our EDGE and Anchor Coordinator (Mark Vallone). Teens form relationships with their peers in small groups that remain consistent throughout the year led by 25 Core Members and 25 high school "Teen Assistants". EDGE also has a full summer schedule of special programming. For more information on our EDGE program, click here.
Life Teen: 9-12th Grade Teens
St. Anthony's currently serves around 750 9-12th grade teens in our Life Teen program, coordinated by our Youth Ministry Coordinator (Jonathan Cardinal) and Life Teen Assistant Coordinator (Paige Ingersoll). This program includes weekly catechetical events (Life Nights). Life Nights build on the foundation laid during EDGE and are designed using a series-based approach and a 4-year curriculum adapted from the USCCB's curriculum framework along with prayerfully crafted series that take into consideration the pressing needs and questions of teens today. Most fundamentally, the most important key word that we seek to emphasize in our Life Teen ministry is relationship. We connect teens in small groups that stay consistent throughout a school year and are led by a team of 75 Core Team members comprised of young adults, parents and other adults. As we have evolved, an increasingly greater amount of time, focus, and energy has been placed on small groups and Core Team development in an effort to help teens form meaningful relationships with peers and caring adults. In addition to Life Nights we offer a weekly Bible study, monthly service opportunities, annual retreats, and a number of Summer trips and events.
Confirmation: 9th-10th Grade Teens
St. Anthony's Confirms around 275 teens every year. Our Confirmation program is an incredibly successful program that teens often look forward to years before they reach Confirmation age. During their 9th grade year, teens attend Life Nights. In 10th grade Confirmation candidates meet separately from Life Nights every week (though many will still attend Life Night) to prepare for the Sacrament and receive ongoing formation. Weekly Confirmation sessions consist of a brief General Session led by our Confirmation Coordinator (Shelly Wilson) to introduce the topic followed by an hour of time in the classroom with around 17 teens, 2 teachers, and 2-4 "Teen Assistants" in each group. Throughout the year Confirmation candidates have opportunities for service and attend a Confirmation retreat. For more information on our Confirmation program, click here.
Where Do we go from here? - Life Teen
Below we have chosen to focus on three of the six Core Commitments in relation to our mission for the next year (May 2017-May 2018). As a short term plan (1 year), the actions for each of the three following Commitments will be directed specifically to/for the ministry to high school teens (Life Teen). In the future, we will continue to develop a long term pastoral plan that will incorporate all six Core Commitments and action steps for all four of our ministries (Anchor, EDGE, Life Teen, Confirmation).
Life Teen: Year One Pastoral Plan
Develop Warm relationships
Where we are: There are many "bright spots" in our Life Teen ministry that naturally have captured and created a ministry of adoption, with key Core Members warmly accepting teens and inviting them into relationships that lead them closer to Jesus and the Church. However, it is clear that our mission has not been fully realized across the board. In working with a large number of teens, the ever-present risk is that programs are prioritized over people and teens feel more like a number rather than a unique son or daughter of God the Father who has invited them into a relationship with His Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and made incarnate by relationships with their brothers and sisters within the family of God, the Church. We realize that we often have prioritized programs over people in our ministry from the top down through a lack of emphasis on a ministry of adoption and the need to better equip Core Members to adopt and commit to our mission. As we consider where God is calling us to develop warm relationships, we have identified key actions for the next year and indicators for assessment. Click below.
Foster Keychain Leadership
Where we are: We currently have a great number of teens that are committed to being leaders within Youth Ministry as Teen Assistants for EDGE and Confirmation and beyond through various liturgical ministries (altar servers, readers, ushers, Eucharistic ministers). However, as our program has grown in number, the sense in upperclassmen teens that they have ownership of this ministry and are trusted to make important decisions of direction and be positioned in key, meaningful roles has diminished. As we consider how God is calling the older siblings of St. Anthony's to "share the keys" with their younger siblings, we have identified key actions for the next year and indicators for assessment. Click below.
Where we are: St. Anthony's has placed a strong emphasis on youth and Youth Ministry programs since it's inception. Teens are involved in many roles beyond the specific context of Youth Ministry - from leading young children faith formation classes to being a reader at Mass. However, it is still common to hear even from the pulpit the phrase, "young people are the Church of tomorrow", when in fact they are a vital of part of the Church NOW. As we consider how God is asking St. Anthony's to recognize every teen as an essential part of the Body of Christ, we have identified key actions for the next year and indicators for assessment. Click Below.