Is youth ministry a team activity or an event for the Lone Ranger? People inside a youth ministry often believe that they are part of the parish team, yet those outside the youth ministry often believe the youth team is heading in their own direction. Who is right in your situation? Are you heading in the same direction as the rest of your parish?
Here are two groups that your youth or young adult ministry should be following:
- The Parish Priest – Your Parish Priest and the other clergy should know what you ministry is doing and approve the direction it is taking. Your role as an intern and minister is to steer your ministry in the same direction that the Parish Priest is leading the Parish.
- Parish Council – Your parish council have been discerning the direction that your Parish is heading, your job is to be guided by their direction. The Parish Council look at the best interests of the entire parish, where as you are focused on your ministry. As important as your ministry is to you, it may not be the number one priority for your parish.
Here are a few things to think about when looking at who you are following:
- Affirm in Public – give public affirmation to the Parish Leaders. Your ministry should affirm in public how it is following the direction of the Parish. This public affirmation will help promote your ministry in its standing within the parish and gain you respect from the Parish Leaders.
- Challenge in Private – if you feel that the interests or needs of your ministry are being overlooked, always challenge the leadership team in private. Arrange a meeting with your Parish Priest or Pastoral council. Never show disrespect to the parish leaders, especially in public.
- Suggest rather than complain – people are usually looking for improvement, but complaints always sound negative. How can you turn your complaint into constructive feedback? Your constructive feedback may just be the advice that the Parish Leaders are looking for.
Why is all this important? One day the current members of your ministry will leave and join other ministries in your Parish. For example, young people grow into young adults or leave for the social justice group or focus on the music team. The attitude that you instil in the people under your care now will benefit the entire parish when they leave your ministry. Who knows, the next Parish Council President may be in your young adults group right now.
Please leave a comment about how you have affirmed the Parish Leadership in your Parish.