NEW CHALLENGES IN ADOLESCENT MINISTRY
Challenge #1: Our society and culture neglect youth and their well-being. It prioritizes false images of success and wealth rather than the well-being of youth.
"We are deeply concerned by America's neglect of young people. The United States is losing its way as a society by not ensuring that all youth move safely and successfully into adulthood."
-Renewing the Vision
Today's youth are plunged into the distracting worlds of consumerism and technological isolation, which damages relationships including both familial ties and a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. Our secular culture does not offer the proper economic, spiritual, and personal tools to help youth become disciples of Jesus Christ. In short, our youth are settling for less in a society that ignores them. We must show our youth that the Church maintains a culture of love and discipleship. Our challenge is to show youth the fullness a life of Catholic Christian discipleship entails.
Challenge #2: Our youth do not always receive proper developmental assets from their parents, their school environments, and even their churches.
In addition to the large-scale culture, sometimes young people's families, school, and other living environments do not provide essential development assets. These assets help youth avoid high-risk behavior such as drug use, anti-social behavior, and premarital sexual activity. Studies found that as assets increase, high-risk behavior decrease, and positive outcomes such as school success, pro-social behaviors, and responsibility increase. Our challenge is to help families, schools, and other communities promote healthy living standards so our youth can grow into responsible, successful adults.
Challenge #3: Leaders and parishes must incorporate contemporary approaches to youth ministry, modernizing ineffective methods and establishing a foundation for growth.
In particular, parish and youth leaders must adjust and be flexible to the ever-changing needs of youth. Old and tired models of youth ministry must be updated and must match the energy and vitality of youth in the world. Renewing the Vision provides a number of resources that can help develop new strategies for youth ministry. Our challenge is not to water down the gospel message for mass reception. Instead, our challenge is to discover how youth can live out the gospel message in their daily lives.
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