Catechism and the Necessary Memes
Have you ever heard something so stupid it made you think…
“This deserves a meme”?
I didn’t create the above meme but, “Thank you, whoever did”. It encapsulates those thoughts in my head when a DRE or youth leader says something stupid about the very ministry they are entrusted with.
As someone who home schooled their kids for 10 years, I can safely say that every moment is a teachable moment; and, although certain curricula must be covered, books are not necessarily the best way to impart the information.
Passing on the faith is no different.
Catechesis, or ‘faith formation’, should never, ever be associated with words like ‘boring’ or ‘dull’. Yet, we often hear our young people saying, “I hate religious ed (youth group, Sunday school, etc.); it’s so stupid.”
A more honest statement would be, ‘the CCD teacher (or youth leader, etc) is boring’.
During a national conference I attended several years ago, one of the speakers went as far as to say, “Boring catechesis is sinful.”
Let that sink in.
If you are a catechist, DRE, or youth leader and the young people in your care think that learning about Jesus is ‘boring’, it signifies 2 things:
- You don’t know what you’re doing.
- You have just turned a young person off from developing a relationship with the Savior of the world.
Translate that into – ‘find another ministry’ and ‘go to confession’.
Catechesis – or developing a relationship with Jesus Christ by learning about Him – should never be boring. It’s like saying that falling in love is boring.
Catechesis must be vibrant and fill a young person with joy and hope so that they may fall in love with their Creator.
If you don’t know how to do this then please, on behalf of the entire Church, seek professional help – literally. There are so many resources available, it’s impossible to fail if you’ve been called by the Holy Spirit into this ministry and actually hone your skills.
Your approach must come from a serious understanding of how young people learn. Passing on the truths of our faith should challenge a young person to go deeper, and empower them to develop their gifts in order for their growing love of Christ to flow out into service.
Although I am taking a break from active youth ministry, I am still very much a part of several online communities of professionals. We talk best practices, new resources, share ideas, pray for each other, etc. We also vent.
Recently, I heard a comment that I hadn’t heard in many years. One of the parish leaders overheard a youth minister say:
“Too much catechesis is a turn off.”
This is when the memes came flooding to my mind.
There were so many to choose from, but I think this would be my fav response:
Wait, no. This one:
No nice? Okay, I’ll hit the confessional but not before…
Please pray for me as I contact my confessor. Know of my prayers for you… and the young church who have to deal with leaders who are boring.