As leaders in the field of the youth apostolate, your task will be to help parishes … and movements to be truly open to the personal, social, and spiritual needs of young people. (USCCB – Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry)
The Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies®, developed and presented by the Center for Ministry Development, is a ministry education program for adults in ministry with youth in both parish and school settings. It equips leaders with the knowledge, skills, practical tools, and techniques needed for creative and comprehensive ministry with youth. Participants in the Certificate Program must be at least 18 years of age and have graduated from high school.
This program is designed for adults involved professionally or as volunteers with younger (10-14 years old) or older (14-19 years old) adolescents in a parish or school setting. The potential audience for the program includes: coordinators of youth ministry, directors of religious education, youth ministry volunteer leaders, junior high/middle school leaders, high school campus ministers, teachers, clergy, university students and seminarians. Individual weekends are also helpful for leaders who specialize in particular ministries. For example, the Justice and Service course can serve leaders involved in social justice ministries.
The primary aim of the program is to promote personal, spiritual, and ministerial growth. Courses in the first year cover youth ministry principles and practice and leadership theory, processes, and skills. The second year focuses on fostering the faith growth of youth through evangelization and catechesis, prayer and worship, justice and service, and pastoral care.
The schedule is as follows:
Location and Cost
All courses take place at the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. Click here for driving directions. The cost for the course, including lodging and meals, is $55.00 for those in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and $175.00 for those outside of the Archdiocese.
Year One Courses
Principles of Youth Ministry
Principles of Youth Ministry presents the foundational understandings and principles for developing an effective ministry with younger and older adolescents. This course presents the vision and principles for comprehensive youth ministry which incorporates developmentally-appropriate youth programming, strengthens family life, involves young people as integral members of the faith community, and collaborates within the wider Church and community in a common effort to promote faith growth. This will include examination of foundational Church documents that shape youth ministry as well as research of best practices in ministry with adolescents.
Practices of Youth Ministry
Practices of Youth Ministry explores the development of comprehensive youth ministry through the collaborative sharing of the resources in the community. Rooted in a theological and pastoral vision of community life, this course develops foundational understandings that will assist leaders in setting and implementing a vision for dynamic ministry with youth. This includes skills for advocacy, planning, and organizing youth ministry efforts. Methods for collaborative leadership among ministries and within ministry teams will also be developed.
Foundations of Ministry Leadership
Foundations of Ministry Leadership explores the theology, principles, and practices of effective leadership in Christian ministry. Participants will explore current leadership concepts and approaches, as well as Christian perspectives on leadership. Participants will also learn how to empower individuals and teams of leaders for ministry with youth. The course combines theory presentation with experiential learning as participants explore: (a) leadership theory and an assessment of styles for effective leadership; (b) theological and pastoral foundations for understanding leadership and empowerment; and (c) processes and tools for creating leadership positions, then inviting, preparing, and nurturing adult and youth leaders in ministry.
Skills for Christian Leadership
Skills for Christian Leadership addresses the theories and skills needed for principle-centered leadership in ministry. Participants will develop a practical, working understanding of leadership process and skills and the experiential ability to use the skills. The course stresses the application of leadership skills to various ministry settings, problems, and issues.
Year Two Courses
Evangelization and Catechesis
This course develops the foundations and practices for nurturing faith growth and Catholic identity in younger and older adolescents through evangelization and catechesis. Participants will explore a variety of ways to promote a living relationship with Jesus in the lives of adolescents. They will examine a contemporary approach to developing Catholic identity and Catholic practices in the lives of adolescents today. Participants will experience and analyze the “postmodern” culture and develop strategies for faith formation with adolescents in a postmodern world. They will learn creative approaches for evangelization and catechesis and develop skills and methods for evangelizing and catechizing adolescents.
Justice and Service
Fostering the Faith Growth of Youth through Justice and Service explores the foundations of fostering a justice and service consciousness within a holistic spirituality in youth drawn from Scripture, Catholic Social Teaching, adolescent development, and contemporary catechetical principles. It develops skills for creating integrated, action-learning models for the justice and service component of a comprehensive youth ministry.
Prayer and Worship
Fostering the Faith Growth of Youth through Prayer and Worship investigates the foundational role that prayer and worship have in fostering the spiritual growth of youth. Participants develop understandings and practical skills necessary for: (a) promoting youth participation in liturgy; (b) fostering the prayer life of youth and preparing prayer services; and (c) understanding spiritual practices that support the development of spirituality in adolescents. Participants will apply these understandings by developing a realistic and integrated approach to worship within a comprehensive ministry to youth.
Pastoral Care explores the principles and methods of caring for young people from various cultures and for their families. The course develops an understanding of the breadth and depth of pastoral care, of family systems and adolescent development, and of the role that cultural identity plays in the development of adolescents. The goal is two-fold: (a) to promote healthy adolescent development from a pastoral care perspective, and (b) to develop preventative interventions for families with adolescents.