Let me start by saying thank you. If you were one of those incredible people who organised, assisted or brought a group of people to Ignite Conference this year, thank you! It was no small effort; speaking at mass or assembly, chasing up consent forms, the registrations! A lot of work and a lot of time, but I hope you will agree with me when I say, it was worth it.
Students crash down from mountain top experiences because we focus on the journey up, not the journey back down to everyday life.
Doug Franklin, Leader Treks Youth Ministry
I came across this quote recently (you can read the blog in full here) and it reminded me of how precious the time after a ‘mountain top’ event, like Ignite Conference can be. It’s a precious time, but it’s also a risky time. In the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat, Jesus casts some light on what could happen.
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So, when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’'
Matt 13: 24-30
Seeds of faith have been sown in the young people you brought to conference, but there is an enemy who wants to pull them out a cast weeds amongst them. Our role, as their leaders, is to equip and empower them to grow, to help create the spaces where they can strengthen and practice their faith.
Our circumstances are all very different and so our ministries will be different too. Whether you are in a school, parish, diocese or a community setting, you and your team will know what you can do to create those spaces. At Ignite Youth, we’re passionate about equipping and empowering you in your role. Over the coming weeks, we are going to be sharing some tips on how to navigate youth ministry this side of the mountain, starting with the following tips.
1. Make Contact within 24 hours.
We’re coming up on a week post-conference. Around about this time the euphoria is going to be wearing off, the reality of going back to work or school sinks in and that journey down the mountain can be rough. Depending on the young people your connecting with, get the person most suitable from your team to give them a call or shoot them a text. A message round about now from a group leader can really help in that journey down the mountain. ‘Hey, hope you’re going well and rested up after Ignite Conference. Just wanted to say thanks again for coming, it was great to have you there!’
2. Within a week invite them to something.
If you have an event coming up; a youth group, mass or prayer night, great. But it doesn’t have to be that. Get a group and head to the movies, meet up for coffee or have a BBQ. Create a community for them to connect in with, the friendships they make here could have the biggest impact on their faith.
3. Build on the Momentum
You may be exhausted after conference, I know I am. After all the preparation and work in the lead up, it seems like a great time to take a break. But for someone whose faith is just coming alive, this is the time they are looking for more, looking to be a part of more. You don’t want to miss this opportunity.
We’re going to be sharing some more posts in this series of Youth Ministry Down the Mountain and if you were looking for more resources, have a look at our faith and leadership series in Ignite Grow.