The October Faith UNwrapped (FUN) session explored the Call of the Prophet Jeremiah (found in Jeremiah 1) and looked at modern-day excuses that we give for not answering God’s call. Although our excuses differ a little (but not as much as you would think) from Jeremiah’s, we learned that God meets us with the same reassurances that he met Jeremiah with… God will give us the words to speak, God will guide I feet to the right places, God will give us the talents and gifts needed to complete his mission, and when we are ridiculed God will be at our side… what an amazing God we have!
The teens in the youth group spent some time considering what God was calling them to—a deeper prayer life, a devotion to Scripture, more meaningful relationships with God and others, and more! At the close of the youth group session we considered the question, “What impact would it have if all young people chose to answer God’s call for their lives?” Below are the impacts that the teens came up with:
The impact on our parish…
· More teens at youth group
· More teens at Mass
· Greater involvement of youth in parish ministries
· More teens preaching!
· More Jesus Music
· More $ to the poor
· Stronger community
· A crowded Heaven
· More selfless people
· More people serving God (making God happy)
· A better environment- more Jesusy and happy people
· More churches!
· More vocations to the priesthood
· It would always be as crowded as the Christmas Eve Mass
· Jesus would be happy!
· More people would attend Church activities
· Get lots of money for the Church
· Youth group would be PACKED
The impact on our schools…
· No enemies
· We would find more value in learning
· More enjoyable
· Less teen pregnancies
· Less drug use
· More confidence—no fear of judgement
· More joy in our friendships
· Less pressure in academics
· More respect between teachers and students
· More people would pray in school
· No violent behavior
· More Acts of Random Kindness
· Homework would be turned in on time
· School would be more fun
The impact on our cities…
· More Church goers
· Less crime
· More sense of purpose
· Less fear
· Cleaner environment
· Friendlier/More Welcoming cities
The impact on our families…
· More empathic relationships
· No jealousy
· Greater honesty
· Better communication
· More supportive (encouragement)
· Willingness to help each other
· Less material excessiveness
· Obedience to one another
· Houses would be cleaner
· Closer and happier relationships
· Less fighting
· Less stress in the family
· More love and understanding
· Families would attend Sunday Mass more willingly
The parish and the youth ministry program will continue to focus on the theme of Discipleship throughout the coming year. I share this reflection with you because the vision of the world filled with young disciples that these teens presented has me excited to continue growing as a disciple myself, and to continue helping them grow as disciples.
If you are a teenager, a parent, a parishioner, or someone near to the Saint John Neumann family and you are also excited about this vision, contact me about how you can become involved in making it a reality! Peace!
Parents and teenagers frequently as me what happens at youth group, which is understandable, because while youth group is an awesome thing… it’s also unlike many other things in our society. So I’ve decided to break down last Wednesday’s youth group meeting and present it to you here in as in-depth a manner as possible. My hope is that you will read this and then decide to attend (or encourage your child to attend) a future meeting.
First, this meeting was planned and presented by the peer leaders on the Guidance & Healing Component-- the peer leadership team is split into 4 components, which are Guidance & Healing, Community Life, Justice & Service, and Word & Worship--- this year’s Guidance & Healing team is composed of Renae, Leanna, and Rebecca.
The topic of the meeting was “Empowerment”—the goal was for each young person to walk away feeling like they mattered to God and knowing that the whole community was in need of their gifts.
To open the meeting, Rebecca read to us Max Lucado’s book You Are Special and the rest of the peer leadership team acted out the story as she read. You can listen to the story here:
After the story came snack—this week’s snack was popcorn, apples, and lemonade.
Then the group broke into small groups led by our peer leaders. The small groups dispersed throughout the building and read Philippians 4:10-13 together. Participants were asked to reflect on this passage and then to share a story about a time when they felt empowered or joyful because God was working in their lives.
When the small group discussions had ended, the entire youth group was tasked with painting a mural that incorporated different elements of the stories that they had discussed in small groups. There were no restrictions put on what they could create (except that I forbid them to finger paint) and everyone was told they had to contribute at least one thing. The final product was very impressive!
When the mural was finished, Renae led the group in a discussion of the painting. Participants noticed common themes in each of their contributions and remarked that the painting, although very busy, would not have been special to them if anyone’s contribution were removed. They also noticed how often people had built upon the paintings of others to create even larger scenes. This mural is now hung in the youth room.
The closing activity was the “Human Chair” where the entire group was able to transform themselves into a chair (and later a walking chair). The participants reflected on how if any member of the group had fallen or given up then the entire group would have fallen down.
Next came announcements and closing prayer. Marianne closed us in prayer and invited the group to reflect on Elton John’s song “Your Song”. You can listen to the song here:
The overall level of energy at the meeting was high, and we were excited to welcome six new people to the youth group!
I hope that this in-depth look at a youth group night will give you the courage to give the youth group (or to invite your child to youth group) a try! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!