CYM Blog Relationships Matter by Angela Hamrick I sat in a meeting this afternoon with a small group of people in which I barely knew anyone; there were no introductions, no welcome to those of us who were new. Ironically, the emphasis of this meeting was the importance of building relationships. If you’ve been in youth ministry for any amount of time, you’ve probably encountered the phrase “relational ministry.” You might be able to define it and talk about it. You may even list it as one of the most important aspects of youth ministry, but if you don’t actually do it, it will be like that meeting I sat in. If you ask any of the people I’ve worked with in ministry, they would confirm that I’ve been saying, “It’s all about relationships” for years. Sure, there are many important facets of youth ministry and things to accomplish in order for a program to thrive (I mean, someone has to call retreat centers and order t-shirts), but if no one shows up for an event, or if the people that do show become a number to share on an annual report, the labor is done in vain. In his book Saintly Companions, Fr. Vincent O’Malley eloquently writes, “Relationships are central to the meaning of life, from the life of the Trinity itself to each individual who has been created in the image of our Trinitarian God. Relationships give profound meaning to life. Relationships bind people together. Relationships affect people, sometimes marginally, sometimes profoundly. Relationships help to make people who they are. Saintly relationships can help to make people saints.” If life is all about relationships and, more specifically, if saintly relationships help us and those around us become more holy, what can you say about your relationships when you look at them more closely? How is your relationship with God? With your spouse? With your children? With your parents? With your brothers and sisters? With your close friends? With your co-workers? With your fellow Core Members? And of course, how are your relationships with the teens of your parish?