Blog/CYM Blog

All Aboard! Starting the Year as a Team

It was my second year at a parish, and the Core Team was coming together for our planning and fun day before the semester got started. When I say “Core Team,” I am referring to some people who had said yes just a few days prior along with those who had been around for almost a year, and everyone in between. Not everyone had met each other, and the beginning of the day was quiet, with some looking around and wondering how they got here.

We started with some ice breakers and some ad-libbed skits to get people laughing, thinking, talking, and yes, practicing what might happen at a typical Life Night. From there, we spent some time in prayer, sharing intentions, talking about Christ’s role in our lives and in this ministry, and then we jumped into planning out our first semester in ministry!

You are not alone in ministry! I have heard many Core Members over the years say that they wish they were empowered to do more – and I have yet to hear that they want to do less. Youth ministry needs a leader, but we cannot forget that the Core Team needs to have some ownership. While I directed the brainstorming and discussion throughout the day, I wanted much of it to come from the hearts and minds of the Core Team.

Some of the things we spent time on that day include:


Since youth ministry in this format was still new, we wanted to focus on two main things: building community and leading the teens deeper in their faith – and closer to Christ.

Large Group Evangelization

We talked about what it means to be welcoming and hospitable, how to build relationships with teens, how to show teens that we care, and how to best use this 90 minutes a week of Life Night to be the face of Christ to teens.

Going Deeper

Bible studies, our Pro-Life group, the Catholics in Action ministry, and prayer groups are some of the ways we took those teens who wanted more than just the Life Night further in their faith. We put some of these ministries together this very day and talked about point people to head up different ones.

Point People

Each Life Night for the year also had a point person, and this was the day the Core could look over the planning guides and claim a few for which to be the driving force. Core members love to take something and run with it – and being handed the keys to a Life Night (still planned with the team) excited them.


Lots and lots of prayer. To start the day, in the middle of the day, throughout the brainstorming process, and at the end of the day. Prayer was a vital component, and it was clear to all the Core Members that Christ is what brought us together to carry out the call to lead teens to Christ.

Overall, this was a great start for the youth ministry year – it got the Core Team all on the same page, brought us together as a team, gave us a direction, let us get specific, and kick-started us.

What are you planning on doing this year to get your Core Team all onboard and excited?

About the Author

Joe Chernowski

Joe Chernowski is ridiculously blessed through his wife, Kelly, and family of 6 children. He spends his time dancing, running, playing, laughing, reading, and praying with them all. When he isn't at home with them or when he isn't at Mission District as the Eastern Region Director for Life Teen, he is probably out running. To hear more about his family & ministry shenanigans, check him out on Twitter @LT_joec.

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