Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Future of Youth Ministry?

In an effort to attract and retain the youth in the area, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church has turned to a unique mix of traditional Church architecture and contemporary high-tech entertainment.

In May of this year, the church began an effort to update its existing building. One new addition to the sanctuary are the “Gamed-Glass Windows”. These windows cleverly mix the Gothic look of stained glass windows with that of 21st century gaming. The windows are connected to powerful dual-processor computers loaded with everything from Tetris and Q*bert to HALO and Madden NFL.

“There was some hesitation early on from some parishioners about placing the four windows in the sanctuary.” Said Nick Miller the Youth Minister for the parish. “We reached a compromise and agreed not to place the windows near the altar so as to not be as distracting.”

“It’s fun. You can come to church, hang out, and have some fun without getting preached to, I love it!” Michael Ward, a current youth group member said.

The parish’s youth program has seen record growth over the last few months, swelling in size from 12 to 21 youths. And that growth is expected to continue as the parish begins plans on expanding on the “Gamed-Glass Windows” with lighted in-floor sensors allowing for DDR (Dance, Dance, Revolution) to be played.

And few are more thankful than Nick Miller, “God has really blessed us here. There’s no doubt in my mind that we are being called by God to lead the way in winning our youth for Christ.”

Will we ever really see something like this?


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

What do you mean? Have you SEEN the 'youth room'? I know, I know, they do adoration in there but, seriously? I think they should take out ALL of the electronic gear and instead put in a library and some Catholic board games or card games or something. It may not be as "exciting" or as "stimulating" as Sega or whatever, but I don't think we're honoring our youth too much by assuming they can so cheaply be "bought" into believing "hey man, being Catholic is soooo cooool. You can play foosball and video games as long as you play along and go to that adoration thingy, and close your eyes and raise your hands up (adding a few tears helps the drama) once in a while!". And, lest you think that I'm some young fogey...I was in this parish from the beginning of the whole "youth movement" and back then, we had "youth group dances" which were just an excuse to hook up and flirt with the opposite sex. Everyone knew it except the adults who were all thinking, "Gee, isn't it so swell that the kids can get together in a nice, safe environment with no pressure?". Sheesh, we had them shnookered but good. I know things have improved greatly since then...but teens will be teens. There are some great ones out there that will stand the test of time, but with all of the pizza and goofiness, I'm afraid we're attracting a lot of teens who just want a (church sanctioned, therefore parent approved) night away from any reasonable adult supervision.

Sigh... Okay, bring it on. I can take it (wincing and squinting my eyes shut).

John Michael said...

“It’s fun. You can come to church, hang out, and have some fun without getting preached to, I love it!”

I think that line says it all. Do we think that God is so dull that if we place the emphasize on Him and the Holy Eucharist that people won't come.

Actually, at first they won't. Run the race to persevere and that youth group with a holiness first attitude will start like the mustard seed eventually producing everlasting fruit.

John Michael