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A Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Youth Ministry » Youth Ministry Small Groups

Youth Ministry Small Groups

"Youth ministry needs to become more flexible: inviting young people to events or occasions that provide an opportunity not only for learning, but also for conversing, celebrating, singing, listening to real stories and experiencing a shared encounter with the living God" - Pope Francis, Christus Vivit (2018)
Youth Ministry at Guardian Angels is here to support every single student in grades 6-12, regardless of attendance at "youth group" events. In fact, we are seeking to lift up students by providing them more and more personalized accompaniment. This is true for students that are very well-versed in the their faith, and those that are just starting on the journey.
We ask that you take the time to fill out the following form with each young person in your family, in the attempt to develop a small "cell" or "community" that works for that student's schedule and interests. Join us in dreaming big things for the young people of our community (and see below for an FAQ about small group ministry).
Simply put, young people need community - now more than ever. Think about the recent social isolation that COVID-19 put many of us into, and you'll recognize the human need to be around others that support you. This need is the same for students, if not more so. Plus, by focusing on smaller communities, we are more easily able to meet young people where they are at, accompany them along the way, and provide mentors for the Christian life (and life in general).
Our faith is not just one more subject that is taught. Instead, the beautiful message of the Gospel and the life Jesus is inviting us into is one that needs to be lived. However, we're all on different steps of the journey, and we need people to walk with us, encourage us, and help us. This is what Pope Francis has, on many occasions, referred to as "accompaniment." Small groups will be centered in Catholic identity, but will seek to be adaptable to where their students are at.
The Guardian Angels High School/Middle School Youth Group meetings have always been about creating an open, welcoming environment for young people of all walks of life to come and experience our parish community and the joy of the Gospel. However, there are no perfect timeframes or programs for a youth group meeting that will work for all students and families. Therefore, while youth group will continue to function as a way for small groups to connect into the larger parish community, small groups exist to meet students where they are at (especially when it comes to their interests and schedules).
Just because a student isn't interested in a weekly Bible study doesn't mean that our parish doesn't want to invest in them. Rather, small groups offer a way for students who are more interested in sports, music, or other "secular" interests to discover how the Catholic Faith can enrich and celebrate those experiences.
The first step is filling out the survey, which includes questions about student preferences and schedules. The Youth Ministry Office will then take that information and attempt to match with other students (those that are suggested, or others who marked similar responses). Once we have some possible ideas for what a small group could look like for your student, Bradley will reach out and work with families to find suitable mentors and coordinate activities/meetings.
All of this depends on what you mark as that student's preference for frequency, timeframe, and location. They could be home-based, church-based, or off-site. They could also meet any afternoon, evening, or weekend on a weekly or semi-weekly basis.
We are open to any adults (parish or non-parish) that are willing to invest in the lives of our students. The survey includes a field to suggest those that you or your student might already have in mind, and other interested adults can email [email protected] if they would like more information. Parents are also invited, encouraged, and needed as help for small groups (for their student or even others).
If an adult is selected for small group ministry, that adult is vetted by the Youth Minister and put through appropriate Safe Environment training (if needed). Families of potential small groups also get input on proposed adult for these groups (before the group is finalized). Adult volunteers will receive ongoing support and coordination from the Youth Ministry Office.
Again, they will be centered around whatever is best for the students involved. One small group may be focused on building community through outdoor sports. Another might take an interest in gaming or the fine arts. Still others may be built around more formalized religious content (Bible studies, talks, etc.).
All of them, however, will focus on accompanying the students on a more personal level through the chance to share about their lives, voice their questions, and explore what excites them about life!