Year of Youth 2018

Youth Ministry: The Early Church Way

Last edited 18th October 2012

Youth Ministry: The Early Church Way

Scouring the Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca, there nothing to suggest that Ambrose had ever led teens on ski trips to the nearby Alps. Digging through the Eastern Fathers, there are no junior-high dances, not even a pizza party in either Antioch or Alexandria. In fact, in all the documentary evidence from all the ancient patriarchates of the East and the West, there's not a single bulletin announcement for a single parish youth group.

Yet the Fathers had enormous success in youth and young-adult ministry. How did the Fathers do it?

Visit this article to find out...

Keywords: early church, youth ministry

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Viewed (2335)    Commented (4)

Mary McAuliffe Kitto
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Mary McAuliffe Kitto wrote at 11:56pm on August 26th 2010
what a great article. Gave me lots to think about
Daniel Amos
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Daniel Amos wrote at 1:30am on August 27th 2010
It certainly is an interesting article, however, I don't think it adequately takes into consideration differing cultural contexts of, quite literally, life and death. Here, in this day and age, not much is at stake, other than our soul, of which most young people (as dictated to them by teachers and parents alike) is an abstract notion that belongs in the past; something they no longer believe in. So they won't be prepared to suffer for it, nor for a man they have no proof rose from the dead.

"They promised young people great things, like persecution, lower social status, public ridicule, severely limited employment opportunities, frequent fasting, a high risk of jail and torture, and maybe, just maybe, an early, violent death at the hands of their pagan rulers."

I don't think that's quite true. I think perhaps it was made clear that all that would eventuate, but they were promised the glory of heaven, and in times of hardship (eg 3rd C for Christians) people are more susceptible to believing in things that would make them happy. In today's world many young people are quite happy with all there fashion and technology, and see no need for God or for heaven. This true also of Christian or indeed Catholic teens.


There are many teens (minorities in their respective countries) who perhaps would benefit from this kind of challenge. We saw many of them at WYD.

I think one could also point to how young people have embraced the gay cause. They have painted themselves as an oppressed minority with truth claims about sexuality, and have felt the need to stand up, speak out for their "rights". It was the challenge that has got many fired up about it all.

The same can also be said of all those young people embracing the climate change push. Again, a challenge that they can unite to fight...or whatever it is they see themsleves doing.

So there is truth in what the author of the article has said about being challenged, I'm not denying it, but it at the same time one must not forget the realities of the present age.
Paschal Uche
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Paschal Uche wrote at 3:17pm on September 2nd 2010
Wonderful article, proof the faith relies not on fancy gimics but in timeless inherent desires for purpose driven lifes, the opportunity to love,be different and ultimatley be Saints!!

God Bless!!
Darwin Beceril
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Darwin Beceril wrote at 3:12pm on September 16th 2010
I believe that the article is true, i told the young people in our parish that ours is not an easy work... it will be full of unhappy surprises... they responded positively, youth love to be challenged... and that's our challenge... to continue to challenge them for Christ!