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Posted April 28, 2015

Book: Rebuilding Youth Ministry: Ten Practical Strategies for Catholic Parishes
Author: Christopher Wesley
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2015. Pp. 119

An excerpt from the Jacket:

Christopher Wesley is on the front lines of youth ministry at Church of the nativity in Timonium, Maryland ---- the church at the heart of the bestselling book, Rebuilt. He refocused an unpopular youth program and made it one where teens feel connected, sty involved, and grow in faith. In Rebuilding Youth Ministry, Wesley offers ten indispensable strategies to help others make their youth programs just as successful.

An excerpt from the book:

1. Welcoming them at the door.

What's their first impression? When teens walk into the building, are they greeted or does the church foster an unintentional game of hide-and-seek? At Nativity, we've created a ministry where adults (whom we call "crowd ministers") are in charge of the hospitality at each of our program events. Every week there needs to be at least one adult at the door greeting each student who walks in. the role of these crowd ministers is to first welcome a teenager and then give him or her direction on what to do next. When new students walk in and see someone waiting for them, it communicates, "I'm available to you and care about what you've faced this week." We aren't talking rocket science, just a basic habit of hospitality.

To create a welcoming environment, just find at least one adult or teen to stand at the door and welcome everyone who walks in. if the greeter doesn't know a teen's name, coach him or her to shake hands and ask for it. If he or she does know the teen, a hug or handshake is most appropriate. Have your greeters find ways to celebrate the fact that these teens are joining you, whether they are new or have been coming around for a long time. It might seem odd or even a little awkward at first; however, being intentionally greeted at the door will affirm their arrival. When people feel like they belong, they will enter with more of an open mind to what they might experience next.

Table of Contents:

Part I: Answering the call
1. Make it way more than pizza
2. Pursue authentic relationships with small groups and mentors.
3. Take back confirmation for making disciples

Part II: Building a foundation
4. Clarify your message
5. Shape a dynamic team
6. Make it irresistible
7. Go beyond the youth room

Part III: Planning for the long haul
8. Accept the messiness
9. Keep asking the right questions
10. Become and remain a learning, growing ministry

Postscript: You and I were born for this