Upon commencement in youth ministry over four years ago, it’s fair to say I had no idea what was expected of me. In the beginning all I wanted was to make a difference for the better, and provide the youth with a platform through which their faith could freely develop amongst other young people, something absent during my teenage years. The Bateman Teens Youth Group was started up in early 2012 with the help of the priests in the parish, CYM staff and other volunteers, and it has been a privilege to work alongside Nichole, Bonnie and Aura and to have seen the youth group develop into what it has become today.
In the first few sessions back in the day, only a handful of teens would show up, and that was if we were lucky! I remember having only 2 people come to one of our first few sessions and being disheartened at the turnout, wondering if it was worth it at all. If you would’ve told me that we would have 50 people at one of our youth gatherings four years ago, I would’ve deemed it impossible. It has had its fair share of difficulties, but as St Josemaria Escriva said, “Let us not forget it: when fulfilling the divine Will, you can get over obstacles, or under them… or you can go round them. But… they can be overcome!”
Being a youth minister changed the way I view the world, the living out of my Catholic faith and has helped me to see the face of Christ in the people I come across. Words cannot express how much working with the youth has meant after all this time, and I truly believe that God has used every single person to inspire, encourage or support me along the way. In ministering to the young people of the Church they in fact, have helped me in my own faith journey through their response. In seeking to inspire, not only have I ended up finding inspiration through others, but have also felt the fullness of God’s love.
Working with the youth (both teens and young adults) has really allowed for the cultivation of some incredible friendships that will undoubtedly last a lifetime. Friendships that have Christ rooted at the centre of it all. It has been such a rewarding experience, and a true honour and a blessing to have been able to serve young people and walk with them through their own journeys in life and faith, which in itself brings so much joy to life. It has also challenged my own faith in surrendering to God’s will and reminded me that ultimately, everything depends on God.
As I come to the end of my time as a youth worker for the parish, I pray that God will be merciful for all my failures and shortcomings. I also hope that at the very least, the youth around me may have encountered Christ and have been inspired to explore and hold fast to the teachings of the Catholic Church in all its beauty and to grow in their relationship with Our Lord, glorifying Him in everything.
For anyone that may be reading this and considering getting involved in youth ministry, I urge you to respond to the call, and “Be not afraid”. Being a youth minister can change your life if you allow God to work within you. Hopefully by answering the call you may be an instrument to the Holy Spirit.
“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)