March 2017 Evangelization Exchange – Edens

Young Adult Evangelization & Ministry

We’d like to thank Fr. Edens for his contributions over these past months exploring his experience with Young Adult Ministry. Read below his final thoughts on his time in Portland working with the young adults there.

What I learned

Fr. Bill Edens, CSP
  1. Young adults want to know that you care about them as individuals, that you value them for who they are, and that you enjoy their company. Learn about their families and friends, and personal resumes and remember what they tell you.
  2. They want to be challenged. They want to know that you believe they are capable of living a heroic life.
  3. They want to know you love Jesus, and that you are modeling your life on his.
  4. They want to know you love the Catholic Church. They don’t respond well to criticisms or complaints about the hierarchy, or de-mythologizing the scriptures, or minimizing the importance of the catechism, or questioning liturgical practices, or watering down the moral teachings of the Church.
  5. Create a Discipleship Training Group to teach Lectio Divina, Scripture exegesis, Spiritual Friendship, Multiplying through Discipleship. In the second year, this can become a weekly Spiritual Formation Program emphasizing basic Catholic themes, a meal, worship with live music, group discussion, and service projects.
  6. Make use of social media to get your presence known. Using Facebook or a website or Meetup.com is like putting your resume out there for all to see. But, it does not substitute for personal encounter.
  7. You must find out what is sacred to the particular young adults you are encountering, and hold it sacred too, if you can. If they hold Eucharistic Adoration sacred and it doesn’t conflict with your deeply held values about the Eucharist then it behooves you to hold it sacred, too. Pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet with them. Read about their heroes and discuss them with them (which may be saints, or popes, or social justice figures).
  8. Encourage people to take leadership roles, but don’t expect that they do. Their lives may be fragmented and transitory. Tap into their expertise and let them make their unique contribution to the ministry.
  9. Contact them frequently by text, try to engage them during their available hours (often late night).
  10. Do a lot of one on ones, and before you end your coffee or beer, be sure to pray out loud with the young adult.
  11. Be sure to show joy and exuberance in their presence!