The Task of the Core Member within Small Group is not to be a teacher, but a facilitator. A facilitator is a leader who starts, guides and pushes the conversation and learning of others. This is primarily done through open-ended questions that do three things: help process a presentation, make new connections, and apply Christ’s truth to one’s own life.
The most basic requirement of a Life Teen Core Member is an adult who has received the love of Jesus Christ and is living his/her Catholic Faith daily. (Note that I did not say “perfectly” but “daily.”) This means that every Core Member is first a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is one who follows Jesus Christ and not merely one who believes in Him. Believers hear, but don’t act. Jesus said that the wise person is one who “hears these words of mine and does them”. Jesus as extended an invitation through faith- “Come, follow me.” And it is by faith, hope and charity that we actually follow Jesus.
Core Members grow followers of Jesus Christ.
Part of their ministry is to invite others to follow Christ Jesus. This is an essential part of being a Catholic Christian. We are not faithful Christians unless and until we are engaging with others, investing in them, and inviting them to encounter Jesus Christ. Put another way, a Christian is not a full disciple until they are apostles. That is, all disciples are called to be missionaries, especially within their natural spheres of influence.
The Core Member seeks first to model the Christian life.
Modeling is purposeful action to communicate Gospel truth to another who is still learning. We need to start somewhere. Before a teen becomes a Christian their starting point will be as a witness of Christian behavior: how does a real Christian talk to others, love others, accept or reject others. Once a teen begins to move into the direction of an active faith in Jesus Christ they require your modeling as an apprenticeship in the faith. The first stage of modeling is attraction, to stir desire in one person due to the way another lives their Christianity.
After Modeling, the Core Member mentors the Christian life.
The second stage of modeling is apprenticing, to intentionally structure one’s life after the pattern of a more advanced person, in order to develop the habits and understanding that informs that way of life. Mentoring in the Christian life is a form of active discipling. When a certain affinity or bond develops between an adult and a teen who is spiritually growing, a mentorship can begin. Every Christian man should have at all times 3 or 4 younger men that his ministering to, pouring out the cup of his life and experience into the younger ones. These are what we call “significant adult relationships” that every adolescent needs to develop into a mature, healthy adult. This mentoring relationship always guards the dignity of the one being mentored (Safe environment policies, emotionally healthy relation) and respects the roles of the parent(s) and youth minister.
Your task today is to begin praying for your teens that belong to all three of these categories- all teens in the ministry, teens with no relationship with Christ, and teens in your small group. Intercessory prayer is powerful and should never be far from a Catholic’s heart. Learn first the names of your kids in small group so that you can pray for them by name. This unleashes divine grace and power in their lives and in your ministry because you are rooted in the Source of all grace. Work without prayer is self-glorifying and Pelagian. Prayer without work denies the apostolic dimension of discipleship. True disciples follow St. Augustine’s dictum: Pray as if it all depends on God (because it does) and work as if it all depends on you. You will not be effective in your ministry if you are not daily and weekly interceding for your students, for those who are farthest from Christ, and for the whole youth group.