The Art of Forming Young Disciples
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
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Not long ago, veteran Youth Minister Everett Fritz counted the number of his former Youth Group members who were still practicing the Faith.
The result? Almost all of them had left the Faith!
Fritz learned that other parishes reported similar staggering losses, pointing to a grim truth: today's Youth Ministries simply do not form young people into lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ.
Not satisfied with these dismal results, Fritz devised a different way of forming young people in the Faith. It's an approach that can truly transform the spiritual lives of young people by applying the same one-to-one personal method that Jesus Himself used to form his twelve original disciples . . . only one of whom was lost!
Fritz has worked with countless parishes, helping them make the shift to a small-group discipleship structure. You'll learn to avoid the many pitfalls and common mistakes parishes make, as well as ways you can easily build the volunteer base needed for a successful transition.
He will help you create a comfortable environment that leads young people into self-reflection, as well as the critical role parents and the parish community play in youth formation.
Finally, Fritz shares various resources that can help you accomplish your goal. But he warns: you're not running a program that has been pre-developed. Relationships and mentoring make disciples; programs do not.
If you're troubled by the number of young people in your parish who leave the Faith year after year, then open these illuminating pages and learn the art of forming young disciples.
This year, I went back to being a Confirmation catechist, so this book found me a receptive reader, to say the least. I found myself unable to put it down, and though the topic is youth ministry, I would posit that this book presents a problem that many adults in their late 20s and 30s also face.
With chapters titled “We Are Losing Our Youth” and “The Parish Problem: Why Youth Groups Fail,” Fritz isn’t holding back. I give him credit, though: He doesn’t just point fingers and talk smack. Part 3 is all about the proposed solution.
Spoiler alert: We are all part of the solution. And that’s the takeaway that I think makes this book almost a must-read for every parent of every Confirmation student I have. (They won’t. But I can dream, can’t I?) What our kids want – and what we want, too, from what I’ve seen – is community. That’s the beautiful part of what the Body of Christ is about. And Fritz offers some ideas that, while they may not work exactly as he proposes, at least get us thinking and hopefully taking some action.