You read that right. I have the perfect youth ministry. There are only 5 youth in the program, but these kids are gonna change the world. We have a small budget. But, we meet every day of the week. You wanna talk relational ministry? I spend HOURS with these kids.

I’m working with the parents to make sure there is really good catechesis happening in the home. We do social events, retreats, discipleship, and I show them how to pray. Sometimes we have small groups, sometimes I just answer their questions. We go on trips together and share meals together. I post a lot about the program on social media.

I’ve been working with these five kids for almost 7 years now, and my goal is to work with each kid intentionally for at least 18+ years. Long-term mindset. You could say that I really love these kids.

Because they’re my literal children.

I reject the false dichotomy between parish youth ministry and the family. There’s no competition. The best youth ministry is the one you’re running if you’re a parent. There’s no perfect model of youth ministry.

Small group discipleship isn’t the perfect model. Large groups aren’t perfect. Discipleship. Stewardship. Outreach. Evangelization. Missionary Discipleship. Commitment to multiplication.

Pick a vision. None of them are perfect.

The next time you hear someone trash a specific youth ministry model or method, ask yourself, are they basically just pointing out how this model fails in comparison to a family?

Or is there a legitimate flaw in the methodology in light of the pedagogy of God, or the way God works with man?

The perfect youth ministry was the Holy Family. But this doesn’t mean that parish youth ministry shouldn’t exist. Even Jesus went to learn in the synagogue.

How can your church support family youth ministry?
How can your church reach youth who don’t yet have a youth ministry at home?

Gotta go, one of the kids in my youth ministry just pooped his pants.


This blog was written by Edmund Mitchell, Director of Catechesis & Evangelization here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at jbarringhaus@sfatx.org.