The Youth Ministry Trust (YMT) is our Diocesan Youth Service. View website
Peer ministry is at the heart of YMT. The Youth Ministry Team was established in 1994 by Bishop Ambrose Griffiths to answer the call of the Second Vatican Council: The young should be the first apostles of the young’ (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 12).
YMT gathers together young people (18-30) from the diocese and beyond, from September to July, to live in community and work as a peer ministry team. The volunteers are given training, on-going formation and support while they embark as a team planning and carrying out school missions, retreats and other activities for young people.
YMT aims to encourage young people into a personal relationship with Christ and fully into the life of the Church.
Recognising Evangelisation as a ‘process’, YMT has developed a three-fold strategy:
- School Missions and Outreach Events
- Retreats and Follow-up Events
- Area Development (local parish/partnership work)
YMT proclaims the Gospel message in new and creative ways through Missions, Festivals and other outreach events using music, drama, dance, small group work, faith stories and multimedia technology. This enables the Gospel to be communicated in an accessible and up to date way.
Following up the mission work and providing more opportunities for young people to grow in faith is the second part of the YMT strategy. YMT offers residential retreats and a range of follow-up experiences and gatherings such as The Source. The Emmaus Village offers retreats which draw young people together, giving them an experience of God, a taste of community, and enabling them to grow more deeply in faith.
The third part of the strategy complements the outreach events and retreats. It is vital for youth ministry to grow at local level so that young people can experience a sense of belonging to Church outside of school in their community. Area Development supports the faith development of young people at local level by supporting the adults who work with them and helping them to provide opportunities for young people to take their place in the Church.
To avoid the mission becoming a ’one hit wonder’, YMT has developed a process, which provides an opportunity for the strategy to be fully integrated.
Step One is a 12 months period of preparation prior to a mission bringing together the school and the local parishes/partnership with YMT. This forms a group that can develop youth ministry in each area and enable a more collaborative way of working.
Step Two is the Mission experience itself with involvement from the parish communities as well as staff and students.
Step Three is about developing the relationships and connections that have been established, continuing to offer opportunities to young people to grow in faith and experience a ‘sense of belonging’ and building up a strong Partnership youth ministry. Immediately following the Mission, adults and young people are invited to an overnight training session ‘Put out into the Deep’ where together they plan the way ahead. Young people are invited and trained to form Mini-Mission Teams’.
‘Forward Together in Hope’ invited us to grow as a Church of missionary disciples and in particular, ‘The Way We See It’ has given our diocese a clear call to do more to reach out to young people and their families. In the light of this, Diocesan departments have come together to develop YMT’s proven process to deliver a wider mission experience that includes a Mission week in churches and primary schools as well as the secondary school.
At the beginning of the year of preparation, each church community is asked to be represented on two leadership teams, one working as usual to develop links with the primary and secondary schools and the other focusing on the parish mission, with interaction between the two during the year. The intention is to form missionary communities, to develop lay leaders, to strengthen outreach to young people and their families, to build relationships between young people and adult parishioners and to offer formation to staff and governors.
It is hoped that following the Mission the whole community will have been invited to think again about their call to follow Christ and that a strong Partnership Youth Ministry Group will remain together with a core group of leaders who can take responsibility for the ongoing Mission in the parishes.