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Laying The Groundwork

Commentary » Laying The Groundwork


What It Means to be Comprehensive

Last Revised on November 03, 2011

Comprehensive Youth Ministry, at its heart, is a parish's adults in relationship with all young people.

Comprehensive Youth Ministry requires the following:

Overall, a parish’s approach programmatically should effectively addresses the eight components of comprehensive youth ministry as outlined in Renewing the Vision, the U.S. Bishops’ document outlining the church’s vision of ministry to, with, by, and for young people.

Recognizing that the term Comprehensive Youth Ministry is new to many people, it is important to distinguish the difference between this and the more traditional “youth group” model of ministry. To that end, we offer the following points of discussion from the booklet Celebrate Youth: Renewing our Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry (Center for Ministry Development, 1998).

Comprehensive ministry with younger and older adolescents is goal-directed.
The three goals articulated in Renewing the Vision (published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1997) give ministry with adolescents a focus, direction, and purpose. A goal-directed ministry refocuses attention away from programs and activities and toward the primary purposes of youth ministry. It recognizes that everything in youth ministry works toward the accomplishment of these goals. Focusing on goals opens up avenues for creativity and imagination, envisioning a variety of ways to achieve the three goals of youth ministry.

Comprehensive ministry with younger and older adolescents integrates diverse activities into a larger, integrated framework.
Renewing the Vision presents a framework that integrates eight ministries of the Church with four essential elements or settings for ministry with adolescents – youth, family, church community, and civic community. This integration allows for the development of programs and strategies that adapt to diverse youth and families in our community.

Comprehensive ministry provides concrete things that the church can do to nurture adolescent faith growth and make a lasting difference in the lives of adolescents.
Renewing the Vision utilizes contemporary research to present specific faith building assets that name what the Church seeks to achieve in the lives of young people. Renewing the Vision advocates eighteen assets as a foundation for healthy faith development in adolescents. These eighteen assets provide specific directions for effective pastoral practice with adolescents and give focus to the content of programs and activities that are offered within a comprehensive ministry.

Comprehensive ministry engages the power and resources of the intergenerational community of faith.
The whole community by its way of learning together, living together, serving together, praying together, and celebrating together helps young people become disciples of Jesus Christ and members of the Catholic community. Comprehensive ministry integrates youth ministry and young people into the larger faith community and focuses energy on building intergenerational relationships between young people and the community. Renewing the Vision advocates a community and intergenerational focus for ministry with adolescents.

Comprehensive ministry partners with parents in developing the faith life of adolescents by empowering families to share, celebrate, and live the Catholic faith at home and in the world.
Comprehensive ministry supports families as faith communities through family-involving programs and at-home activities. To empower families to share, celebrate, and live their faith at home and in the world, youth ministry designs family-friendly and family involving ministries and programming, and provides families with a variety of home strategies and activities.

Comprehensive ministry cooperates with community leaders and organizations to promote positive adolescent development and create healthier communities for all young people.
Renewing the Vision advocates a collaborative approach between the church and community organizations.

Comprehensive ministry empowers everyone in the faith community to use his or her gifts, talents, and resources in ministry with adolescents, helping the entire community assume responsibility for ministry with adolescents.
Comprehensive ministry mobilizes all of the resources of the faith community. Every member of the community has a role to play and special skills, gifts, talents, and resources that can enrich and expand ministry with adolescents. Comprehensive ministry with adolescents also involves adult and youth leaders in a variety of specialized roles necessary for effective ministry. Many of these leaders will be involved in direct ministry with adolescents, others will provide support services, and yet others will link the ministry effort to the resources of the broader community.

Related Policies:

Every parish is to provide comprehensive youth ministry. 483