Stepping out of the boat – Bridge Builders

By Anita Parker

It was a great opportunity on Monday 26th of May for 50 youth leaders , RE teachers, priests and religious to gather and learn some youth ministry tips from Steve Angrisano (USA) whilst on his Perth tour. 2hrs in the evening were spent looking at various methods of engaging young people and practical tips of sharing the Catholic faith with them.

Steve Angrisano has a very unique and engaging method of teaching the faith. A good mixture of stories, songs, prayer and teaching – everyone was eager to learn how he does it. The first tip Steve gave was to always live what you teach. Steve mentioned that young people are very perceptive of the truth and will know if you truly believe what you teach them. So simply put “Live it!” But also understand that it’s not just about the ‘doing’ that we are interested in, but by ‘being’ who we are called to be. It was a great theme that was strung throughout the session, that as leaders we must truly live our faith and practise the sacraments regularly for ourselves. Ensure that we don’t get caught up only organising faith experiences for others, but creating the time and space for ourselves to pray & have our own faith experiences.

Steve also covered a variety of areas on setting up appropriate environment spaces, encouraging more devotions with our young people, investing in relationships and challenging yourself to be inclusive of all young people – even if they don’t enjoy the same things you enjoy.

The final challenge Steve gave to the youth ministers was to look at the scripture of Jesus walking on the water and the image of Peter stepping out in faith too. As youth ministers you can step out & seem to ‘fail’ like Peter. But the alternative view is that we can look from the perspective that at least Peter HAD faith to step out. The brief moment of sharing in the miracle of walking on water is enough to sustain him that it was worth stepping out when none of the others did. As youth ministers we need to constantly step out of the boat & to experience a miracle moment with Jesus. Even if we fall, we have stepped out of the boat & had a moment of faith to let Jesus lead the ministry.

As youth ministers we need to ask ourselves – Will I get out of the boat?

Steve concluded not only his Perth tour, but his Australia tour in Perth on this night. He led us in a final song with music he had written to accompany Night Prayer from the Divine Office. His ministry is a constant example and inspiration of how much prayer means to us in our ministry and how the devotions of our Church can help us be better witnesses to our faith.