We all desire to have the best, most effective youth ministry in our parishes but there seem to be so many elements that can effect this outcome. We know two parishes with similar population dynamics and attendance numbers and finance can have radically different outcomes from their Parish youth ministry programmes. So why is that and is it possible to have an effective ministry with young people in any parish? In this brief workshop we want to start to examine some of the key foundations and building blocks that make for a successful Parish Youth Ministry. How can we increase the likelihood that our local ministry will be effective and resilient and will be here for many years to come, regardless of the changing face of our staff or parish priest? At the heart of a successful ministry is not simply a group, a programme or events but a structure and a culture. The truth is youth ministry is not simple, so where do we start or how do we strengthen what we already have?
For the past four years James has been the Manager for the Catholic Youth Team for the Diocese of Christchurch (CYT). He holds a graduate certificate in Youth Ministry from BBI in Australia. James is married to Melissa and they have three awesome teenage boys who live with them in Christchurch and a lovely daughter who is on mission with NET ministries in Sydney. Originally from Queensland, James grew up with a passion for nature and completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science and worked and studied in retail management in Brisbane, Qld. James felt called to dedicate his life to ministry with young people after experiencing a life changing faith conversion through a local youth and young adult ministry. James has now served the church in Youth Ministry for over 21 years, in both Parish and Diocesan organisations and is committed to assisting Catholic parishes to create effective and sustainable ministries with young people in their local communities so that young people have the opportunity for the life changing encounter with Jesus and the church that he experienced as a young man.