living our faith in the world

(Trans)figuring what matters

Life Teen staff member Eric Porteous has an interesting reflection about what matters in ministry: not numbers, but souls. It’s not how many teens come to your event, or how many people came to serve the poor, or how many people came to the big retreat you planned,  but rather how you interact with them:

So allow me to propose another question to measure our success in youth ministry: “How well?”

“How well are we leading teens to the sacraments?”
“How well are we evangelizing those who don’t know Christ’s love?”
“How well are we developing teens into true disciples?

Of course, this shouldn’t be an excuse for low numbers if you have been negligent in some way (and you know if/when you have been). After all, the mission of the Church is to preach the gospel to all nations. In that sense, we should be thinking about numbers…. but that’s a big picture, whole Church thing. As an individual, you are not called or capable to evangelize each and every human being in the world.

Right now, for the Bible study you lead or the prayer group you coordinate, focus on doing it well. Jesus only had three others with him to witness his Transfiguration, and that seemed to go pretty well, right?

“Jesus pictured here with two other volunteers, Moses and Elijah, at an event with only 3 participants. That’s a 1-1 ratio!”

So, now is the time for planning and preparation for the rest of our summer events, now is the time for planning next year’s schedule. As you go about doing so, think not so much about numbers, but rather focus on creating a positive, illuminating experience for others.


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