Youth ministry gathering hopes to generate input from youth and adults
By RENEE WEBB, Globe editor
Nov. 9, 2006
MANSON - Adults and youth alike are invited to a gathering on Nov. 18 where
they will be asked to share their vision of youth ministry.
Jessica La Fleur, diocesan director of youth ministry, hopes that through
this visioning session people can get a of sense of the present state of youth
ministry in their parishes and at the diocesan level. From there, she hopes to
gather input that will help formulate a plan and set goals for diocesan youth
"Where are we feeding the kids and where are we missing them?" she
The gathering session is planned for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 18 in Harvest
Hall at Twin Lakes Christian Center near Manson. Lunch will be provided.
"This is an opportunity for me to hear the voices of the people and to
give an opportunity to share their thoughts and their wisdom with me because I
am doing what I can here, but I can't do a good job if I am not listening to the
people in the field," said La Fleur.
The session is intended for high school students, parents, youth ministers,
priests and anyone who believes they have something to contribute to formulating
the vision of youth ministry.
"I think it's good to have the parents there because they see another
side of the kids," she said. "When they are at church, we only see one
side of the them but parents have a whole different experience of kids.
Sometimes they will share things with their parents - maybe they didn't like a
youth ministry experience."
Parents can share what works for their kids along with what they hope their
children receive in ministry. She stressed the fact that this is not intended to
be a means to recruit parents as youth ministry leaders. Ideas are what she is
looking for. At the same time, if parents become interested in serving in a
youth ministry leadership position then that is an added plus.
She definitely also wants high school students to attend the gathering.
"It's important to hear their voice because they are the ones who are
experiencing it," said La Fleur. "I want a diverse group of kids
there. I don't want just the kids who are already involved; I want the kids who
are not involved. I need to listen to both voices."
The session will begin with La Fleur briefly identifying the eight components
of youth ministry. With each component, people will be asked to list events or
programs - at diocesan and/or parish level - that relate to a particular
"This will be helpful for the diocese, but also for parish-based youth
ministry," she said.
La Fleur pointed out that this activity should help them see where there may
be some holes or gaps in overall youth ministry. At the same time, it may affirm
parish youth ministry programs in that they may be covering more of the
components than what they realized. They will also discuss what has been
effective and what hasn't worked.
"We will discuss what needs to be changed and what we can do to make
things better. We will also look at what we are missing. If there is an obvious
hole - then we can talk about ideas," she said. Ultimately, they want to
"help bring the message of Christ to our youth."
She mentioned that youth ministry is not intended to replace religious
education classes or Catholic school education, it is intended to enhance and
compliment other forms of catechesis.
Initial stages of goal setting will flow from the discussion.
"I want people to come up with their own goals as well as help with
goals for the diocese," said La Fleur.
She expressed her wishes to form a Youth Ministry Advisory Board that would
take ideas and her formulate a plan of action.
If you plan to attend the gathering, please contact La Fleur by Nov. 16. Call
her at (712) 233-7561 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.