“Youth ministry is the response of the Christian community to the needs of young people and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community.” (from Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry 1997 by the USCCB.)
By the definition offered by the U.S. Bishops, youth ministry is much more than just programs. It is about reaching out in relationship to the young people in the community, and giving them opportunities to use their gifts within the community. Youth ministry is goal-driven, rather than program driven.
The vision of youth ministry defined by the bishops is much broader in scope than any previous model and may require a new way of thinking and ministering to you. “All ministry with youth must be directed toward presenting young people with the Good News of Jesus Christ, and inviting and challenging them to become his disciples.” (CMD – Celebrate Youth!)
In Renewing the Vision, the bishops identify three interdependent and equally important goals that are to guide a Catholic ministry for young people.
— EMPOWERMENT – to help young people live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today
— PARTICIPATION – to invite youth to responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community
— GROWTH – to encourage the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person