“Relationships are the starting point of Youth Ministry”
-Ann Marie Eckert, Total Youth Ministry: Ministry Resources for Community Life

The reason that most of us are involved in the Church is because somebody within the Church built a relationship with us. That person made us feel loved, welcomed, valued, and important. But it was not until after this relationship was built, that their teaching of faith, and their challenge to grow in holiness was effective. Eventually, we fell in love with Christ because that person pointed us towards Him.

As Directors of Youth Ministry, we need to create the opportunities for young people to have similar relationships with others in the Church. Some young people may find this relationship with you, some may find it with other adults in the parish, while some may find it with other young people in the parish. As the Coordinator, you create the proper atmosphere for the relationships to grow.

Building community does not just mean building a tight-knit “youth group” where everybody is a friend. Odds are that if you are in an average sized parish in Northern Virginia, that there are at least 500 Catholic teenagers in your parish boundaries. Your goal should be to find a way to make all 500 of these young people feel loved, welcomed, valued, and important by somebody within the parish. You do not need to get these 500 teens to “youth group”. You need to get them involved in the greater community of the parish.