Teens are moving from childhood into independent adults. They need to have activities that are fun, healthy, active, and help them connect into positive peer relationships. Teens also need a sense of mission and purpose in their lives. When we engage teens in the Justice and Service life of the church teens experience that they can use their abilities to positively impact others. Through house building in impoverished countries, teaching elementary religious classes, helping at Vacation Bible School or Family Camp, working at the food bank, participating in the Walk for Life, bringing jackets and sleeping bags to the homeless, etc. teens can live out the gospel message to care for the least among us. As they see their ability to help others teens also develop a sense of hope about their own future.
Pastoral care – These issues including alcohol, drugs, chastity and healthy dating, self image (particularly young women and the issues of anorexia, bulimia and cutting) depression, stress, and difficulties in family relationships.. Who is more likely to face the issue of a crisis pregnancy and the question of abortion than a teen or young adult, either their self or a friend? Youth ministry can help build foundational skills to avoid these problems and the relationships of trust necessary for a teen to be able to reach out when they have a problem. The church should be a resource of healing, allowing teens and their families to connect into networks of professional to help with these issues.
Empowering teens – Catholic leadership development. Teens need to move from being passive receivers into becoming active and engaged in their faith. After all Discipleship is learning and living the teachings of Jesus. Great youth ministers understand that all teens have the ability to grow as leaders in their faith. We best serve our youth when we provide meaningful ways for them to lead and share. Leadership is not just a personality trait; it is something we nurture in teens. Understanding this means the youth ministry team invites teens to lead, provides training on the skills they need, and then supports the teens by creating opportunities for them to actually lead. By looking at the many roles and activities in a meeting, liturgy, retreat, or event, we can a variety of areas that our teens can exercise leadership. A church community that welcomes teens will soon find that the teens are eager to share their talents and abilities.