Award-Winning Youth Group: More God, Fewer Games
La Porte, IN
Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary
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Youth for Truth harnesses young people's thirst for answers and bolsters parish youth ministry.
"What young people really hunger for and what keeps them coming back is the truth. They can play games anywhere. What they really want is to learn the teachings of the Church." Father Dave Kime, Pastor, St Joseph Parish, La Porte, Indiana
"Its success in evangelizing our core group of youth has been amazing to see and these young leaders are now witnessing their faith to other young people in various ways. Newer members have said, that seeing those their own age embracing the faith and wanting to live it is very motivating and new to them." Lynn Vershay, youth group leader
The need it meets
"Youth for Truth" at St. Joseph Parish in La Porte, Indiana, feeds young people the truths of the Church. It received the RockHouse Video Award from EWTN's Life on the Rock program in its search for best youth ministry.
Where it came from
After a number of parish youth attended a Source & Summit retreat, they started attending daily Mass before school. Associate Pastor David Kime saw the need for a ministry to reach these motivated young people and collaborated with lay leaders to launch "Youth for Truth." They use a format provided by Christian Life.
How it works
"Youth for Truth" meets every two weeks. The meetings begin with 20 minutes of live music led by one of the adults (everyone sings). Each session has a theme. Participants break into groups of 8-10 for a Gospel reflection that touches on the theme and is directed toward a practical resolution. Themes have ranged from apologetics and Theology of the Body to preemptive war and vocational discernment. When appropriate, a guest speaker will offer additional insights on the dayé─˘s theme. The meetings conclude with refreshments and recreation, such as basketball in the parish gym.
- A number of the young people have explored priestly or religious vocations; several young men have visited the seminary with Fr. Kime.
- Sustaining the momentum of what young people experienced at a Source & Summit retreat, which is heavily focused on the Blessed Sacrament.
- National recognition: The RockHouse Video Award from EWTN's Life on the Rock, being chosen best youth ministry out of more than a hundred entries.
- Double in youth group participation in one year.
- Starting each session with live music as a way to bring everyone together.
- The focus has to be on feeding young souls the truths of the Church. They can play games anywhere, but they can't go just anywhere to get substantial formation in the faith.
- The Christian Life Gospel Reflection format helps focus the discussions and direct the group toward resolutions they can apply in concrete ways.
- Fun and refreshments: All work and no play...
How to implement it
- Find lay collaborators with whom you can work to make this happen. Fr. Kime, a diocesan priest and member of Opus Dei, worked closely with a number of Regnum Christi members and some Third Order Carmelites; the coming together of these spiritualities has been a blessing for the group.
- Don't reinvent the wheel: the Christian Life Gospel Reflection format works well. (This format is outlined at www.clgroups.com, where materials are also available for purchase.
- Think of starting with a [Source & Summit retreat], as this is what inspired the youth of St. Joseph parish to begin with.
Fr. David Kime is pastor of