The eight focus areas
Introduction to the Eight Focus areas
The eight focus areas are ways in which the achievement of the three goals may be expressed.
The following descriptions of the focus areas provide points of reflection and a deeper understanding of each focus for those who wish to broaden their ministry with young people. They provide a language to identify where strengths lie and where development can occur. While many communities will have examples of each focus area, they are not intended as a prescription.
They do not assume exhaustive resources in personnel, volunteers or finances. Nor are they the only areas in which youth ministry can occur. Rather, they provide a language and further develop the framework within which youth ministry can grow.
When developing youth ministry, many communities will naturally lean towards one or more of the following eight focus areas. Some groups and movements may “specialise” in one or another focus area, such as Social Justice or Evangelisation. Defining the focus areas as distinct ways in which the goals can be reached gives the same weight to each. It validates all areas of youth ministry as equally important in bringing young people into relationship with God and the community. Many ministry opportunities will be crossover initiatives and cover more than one goal at a time.
Ministry in each of the eight areas can be in a gathered format, where people come together for a set program or event, or in a non-gathered format, where resources are provided for individual reflection or action or through individual mentoring or engagement activities. Involvement can lead towards greater contribution to the faith life of the family, parish, school, group or movement, or encourage young peoples’ participation in the wider community. The focus areas can also be used as a guide for inviting young people into intergenerational aspects of all areas of the life of the community.
The eight focus areas provide a lens through which we can view our work towards the goals of youth ministry, as well as how we live our daily lives as Christian witnesses.