CYM Parish Tool Kit: Forming Young Disciples

CYM: Forming Young Disciples - Parish Tool Kit 

Some background information
The purpose of Catholic Youth Ministry (CYM) is to form disciples of Jesus Christ who live as stewards for the transformation of the world. With the support of the family as their domestic church, many young people find opportunities to grow into strong disciples of Christ through their parish family. Everything the parish offers for young people is centered around and points to this goal of discipleship. 

Naturally, young people will be at various different levels in their formation as young disciples. Those involved with ministry outreach to young people need to be adaptive and responsive to these various levels of discipleship. Outreach efforts and programs may be designed to addresses these various levels and continually invite young people to ever deepening levels of discipleship.

Within a parish, various opportunities can generally be categorized into four phases of a cycle: Invitation to Discipleship; Beginning Disciples: Growing Disciples: and Commissioned Disciples. As young people pass though these phases, they then repeat the process, but on a deeper level. And each time they cycle through, they will approach these phases on ever-deepening levels. A responsive CYM within the parish provides opportunities for these various levels so that their young disciples are able to grow!

It is important to remember that each young person's journey is unique, and that not all of the young people will reach a deep commissioned level by the time they are seniors. The best approach is to meet the young person "where they are at" and gently invite them to move to a new and deeper phase in their relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. On the other hand, if all a parish provides for young people stays at a shallow level, how will they be expected to grow? The CYM Parish Tool Kit assists parishes in evaluating their current ministry and plot out ways to strengthen each phase of the discipleship journey over a 4-year period. Once a parish leadership team identifies areas for growth, they will find resources that correspond to that area that may be helpful.

How to Use the Tool Kit and Resources

  • 1) Read through the entire toolkit, discuss which indicators make the most sense for your parish youtn, and then pick 3 to 4 indicators per phase, per year.
  • 2) For the items you choose for the current year, list some ways to accomplish each indicator. Keep your goals measurable and realistic.
  • 3) Plan a strategy for how you will accomplish your annual goals. Refer to the resources for each indicator which may be found on the links below. Assign tasks. Set up a time to evaluate your progress.
  • 4) Meet at least once a year with your parish leaders to review your progress and then repeat the steps above for the following year.

NEW! Sample Models of how parishes could use the Toolkit

Model 1: Four-year focus on 1 phase of discipleship formation

Model 2: One-year focus across all 4 phases for new ministry

Model 3: One-year focus across all 4 phases for established ministry

Model 4: Four-year focus across all 4 phases

New! Four phases of disciple formation as they relate to the six tasks of catechesis

Keep in mind that these 48 indicators are merely suggestions. You may identify others that fit more closely with your parish's efforts to evangelize and nurture your young disciples.

The CYM Tool Kit Resource Pages

Invitation to discipleship

Beginning disciples

Growing disciples

Commissioned disciples

Please contact Christine Edmonds in the Office of Faith Formation if you would like to schedule a parish visit to assist your youth ministry leadership team in utilizing this tool kit. May God bless you for all that you do!