Part of what the New Evangelization has for us includes re-evaluating everything we are doing now as Church and make needed corrections to ensure we are focused on discipling the nations. (Matthew 28:19)
As a dad and one interested in helping others live lives worthy of their calling, I am concerned about the value youth ministry brings to the Church, in particular as we begin this path on re-evangelizing America.
According to an opinion poll published in Charisma News, youth ministry’s ability to pass on the Truth of Christ is negligible, and may in fact be pushing young people away from the Church because of a lack of substance. The poll asked the questions to learn the value that youth ministry brings to the Church. They found that 55% believe that “modern youth ministry [is] too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers”.
This is a poll among Protestants, who do a much better job catechizing their youth than do Catholics. I assume–fully aware of all the dangers that brings–that the number among Catholics would be higher.
From my experience working in confirmation programs in three different dioceses for 20+ years and seeing the catechesis offered to my daughters, we seem to be dumbing-down the content in an effort to fit into the lives of the youth rather than offering a standard to which they can aspire.
We use the excuse that today’s youth are so busy with too many choices and can’t focus because of their short attention spans. Why then once we get their attention do we feed them a huge helping of recreation with just a sprinkling of Truth. Rather than training the next generation to be skilled at eating pizza and playing games, shouldn’t we (the parish community) strive to have said of us by Jesus “I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the Truth just as we were commanded by the Father.” (2 John 1:4)?