As ministers, paid or volunteer, it seems as if we seldom have enough time to keep up on current information, trends, tools and trainings. While I fully endorse and encourage participation in our diocesan opportunities like YMOT (Youth Ministry Online Training Program), Christian Formation Series, Liturgy Day, Evangelization and Catechesis Day, in-service, etc., there are so many more opportunities for you -- some as close as your computer!
Webinars are online (web) seminars that allow students from all over the country/world to participate together with an expert, teacher, motivator, author, leader or facilitator. "Live" participants who join the webinar in "real time" often have the chance to ask questions, offer additional insights or respond to questions during the session. Many of the sessions are recorded and made available any time.
Key advantages of webinars are:
1. No travel time to and from the session.
2. Shortened commitment time then without the travel involved.
3. Can be done about anywhere you have an internet connection, so that can be in your office, at home, or (with earphones) while you wait for your child involved in a sport, dance, music, etc.
4. You can learn from speakers who may never come to this area. It is incredible to be able to ask an expert a question and get his/her direct response!
5. You can learn about almost ANY topic, if you search long enough.
6. Affordable -- most of offered inexpensively, and many are FREE.
7. You can interact with participants from all over the region, country or world, depending on the webinar.
So, check your internet connection (speed, bandwidth) and computer/tablet/smartphone sound,
and if they are compatible, then start looking for the topics you most want to learn about via webinar!
I shall offer a few suggestions:
+ Members of the National Association of Catholic Youth Ministry Leaders receive FREE access to monthly webinars with topics directly of interest to our ministries with teens. Membership is only $60 for the year and has additional benefits like discounts on conferences and resources, membership news, etc.
Check out the current webinar listing at:
For membership, click here:
+ For only $25 per session (discounted in bulk), the Center for Ministry Development offers monthly topics related to ministry with youth, young adults, and families. You can also review past sessions and get the handouts. See their listing at:
+ Paulist Evangelization Ministries (Paulist Fathers) offers sessions during this Year of Faith with helpful ways we can deepen our personal faith and share with others. Most (all?) have been free of charge, but you must pre-register. Check out upcoming topics at:
+ St. Mary's Press offers a number of webinars that help make use of tools they produce
See their offerings at:
+ Joe Paprocki offers insights on his Catechist's Journey site. While he has worked mostly with DREs and children's programs, there are topics of interest to those of us working with 'older children' as well.
+ Ave Maria Press offers free webinars for parish minister's professional development.
WHAT OTHERS MIGHT YOU RECOMMEND?
How have webinars helped your ministry?
How have webinars helped your personal growth as a minister?
What new things have you learned by participating in a webinar?
How have webinars helped you encourage continued formation with your team, vo
Have you invited someone to go to Church/religious event with you?
According to Barna research,
only 4% of unchurched adults were invited to church by a friend and actually went,
23% were invited but declined,
and 73% were never invited at all.
These adults cannot possibly have been recalling high school days, right? Our youth ministries are great at inviting....aren't we? Teens know they are welcomed and when they can bring their friends to our programs, activities and events...correct? Perhaps we need to take time to evaluate our invitation styles, tools, and skills.
Here are just a few questions to help evaluate:
-- Do on our flyers, posts and announcements explicitly state WHO is invited and if friends can come?
-- Are our flyers, posts and announcements placed in locations that teens and their parents will see them?
-- Do we have adults helping us personally invite youth to be part of programs/activities/events in person, by phone call, etc., or do we rely on flyers, posts and announcements?
-- Do parents have enough information to know that they WANT to encourage their sons/daughters to participate in the programs, activities, events?
- Have we empowered teens to invite others by making sure they have the language necessary to offer invitations to friends, neighbors, relatives, etc.?
Of course, enthusiasm will spill over, so when our teens feel valued, excited, and engaged, they will naturally want to share the spirit...so be sure each and every participant is welcomed and treated to genuine hospitality once they have said "YES" to an invitation!
Then, just maybe, if Barna polls again in 5 - 10 years, that last number will be closer to zero (and if we really show we are Christians by our love, maybe that top number will be higher as well!) Let's get to inviting!
I wanted to share a couple of the online prayer aides that I have used that help remind me to take time for prayer in the midst of the numerous tasks of the job. It helps that I can receive email reminders:
+ Loyola Press 3-minute retreat
A different daily theme with image and Scripture. If I cannot find at least 3 minutes to pray, then I am in the wrong line of work ;-) Here is today's:
+ The Five Loaves
A weekly reflections "between Sundays" with reflections from various ministers with related song.
+ St. Anthony Messenger Saint of the Day
A brief bio of a saint celebrated that day along with a prayer. I often post these on my Facebook page for teens and young adults to read as well.
And one for your teens:
+ Any Given Sunday from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,
a free weekly, lectionary based reflection by various youth leaders and artists. I have posted a few of these on my Facebook page as well for teens.
Let me know what some of your favorite online resources are as well!
Cindee Case, MPS
Director of the Diocese of Youngstown Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.