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What my Teacher-Self Wishes My Youth-Minister Self Knew: Equipping the Disciples to be Apostles

Do you know how often students have the opportunity to share their opinion at school? In a number of classes, students have the chance to share Truth in discussion or presentations. The topics are many: the dignity of the human person, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, the poor, relativism and truth, marriage and sexuality, suffering, what real love is. Just as youth ministers are in a unique position to speak, teens are in a unique position, too. Students have opportunities to share Truth and share Christ on a peer-to-peer level.

When I say teens have opportunities, I am not suggesting they become hallway evangelists or start speaking in “Christianese” in their classrooms. Instead, they should be able to share intelligently and articulately from a Catholic worldview. Sadly, I see teens, involved in parish youth ministry who have opportunities to speak up and offer a Christian perspective, but miss the mark or miss the window of opportunity altogether.

What it made me realize is that it’s probably not because these teens are not willing to share a Catholic worldview, but because they don’t know how. We need to equip our teens to speak truthfully and intelligibly about the issues of today. I believe they can do this without sounding preachy or like a Jesus freak if they have been formed and equipped to do so.

It’s one thing to share information with the teens and another to give them the chance to practice talking about those topics themselves. Experience tells me that these young people need some serious coaching in being able to sound (and be) intelligent about these subjects. They may know the Church’s teaching and have a general understanding, but articulating it is another issue. We need to equip them with more than just the basics and give them time to practice.

Creating an Unleashed Missionary Discipleship group that focuses on apologetics and formation is a great entry point for teens that desire to defend their faith and share the love they have for God and His Church. Consider offering an on-going Apologetics and Apostleship Boot-Camp for teens who are ready to be apostles, ready to be sent.

Let’s prepare teen disciples in youth ministry to become true apostles, and take advantage of the opportunities they have to share Truth.

St. Dominic and St. Francis Xavier, pray for us! Pray for them!

 

Image via FlickrCC 2.0, Logo added 

About the Author

Angela Hamrick

I only first went to youth group in high school because my mother made me. Little did I know that the Lord's plan for my life would be directly related to that one Wednesday evening. I don't eat bananas, seafood, or the white sauce that comes with chips and salsa.

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