6 ways youth ministers and DREs (and others) can form mutually enriching bonds
Being the youth minister at a parish, whether paid or volunteer, has some very unique challenges. It can be difficult to overcome the common perception that youth group means pizza, amusement parks, and movie nights. One of the often-overlooked advocates that youth ministers can have is the parish DRE (director of religious education) or
similar faith-formation leaders. You and your DRE can build a relationship that is mutually beneficial and supportive. Here are some suggestions to make that happen:
1. Consider your relationship with the DRE. Is it amicable? Supportive and invested? Could it use some work? Consider: You are two sides of the same coin. Investing in a solid relationship with your DRE can offer mutual prayer support, advice, and problem-solving.
2. Speaking of prayer support, how about scheduling time once a month (or more if you’d like) to meet for prayer and share concerns and struggles. If you and your DRE are not both male or both female, praying together privately probably isn’t a good idea, but you can share prayer requests with each other and commit to praying on your own, or you could form a larger prayer circle with other staffers.
3. Pay attention to the schedule of classes and special activities the DRE has on the calendar. Is there a way to mirror some of your programming so that topics can span across ages and grade levels?
4. Get together and plan some parent-centered events revolving around faith and culture topics, such as cyberbullying and social navigation, how to pray with and for your kids, having a healthy schedule that prioritizes faith, and creating a life ethic in your family.
5. If you have a student leadership team in your youth group, talk to your DRE about ways to incorporate them into the RE program: skits, short witness talks, small group leaders for retreats, game leaders, and so on.
6. Visit the upper elementary classrooms if you have a middle-school youth ministry program. If you only have a high-school ministry program, visit the middle school classrooms. Become a familiar face at catechetical classes, and build relationships with the catechists and their students.
I’m sure there are other ways to enhance the relationship between you and your DRE. Situations unique to your parish, your geographic area, and both of your personalities may give you additional ideas. With a little effort, you can be an unstoppable team.
Becky Groth is a writer for ODB Films. See more at ODBFilms.com
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, February 2019