Thoughts on our Networking Evening

One of the best parts about moving to Toronto from a small town was the sheer number different things I could do on any given day. There were so many things to choose from that it was overwhelming. Young adult ministry events were no different. I was invited to volunteer at Faith Connections within weeks of arriving, but as I got settled I began learning about other groups that were also doing young adult ministry. Faith Connections' Young Adult Ministry Networking Evening, hosted on June 4, was a refreshing reminder of just how much is going on.

The event brought together people who worked with young adults in all sorts of different ways. Some groups were parish-based, while others focused on campus ministry. Others represented different groups that young adults might be interested in volunteering for or ministries with helpful tools for young adult ministry. As a young adult, it was a great reminder of all the options available to me, but as someone who hopes to do ministry in the Church, it was a great crash course in what’s already happening.

Listening to all of the opportunities reminded me of two things. The first is Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, when he explains that the body of Christ is made up of many parts (Chapter 12). He explains that the body needs all of these different parts in order to function properly. Young adult ministry in Toronto would look very different without SMC Alive or Faith Connections or the parish based ministries or any other group. Each one contributes something specific and valuable to the whole. Without that contribution, there would be a gap, something wouldn’t be covered as well as it is now.

The second thing this event reminded me of is a buffet (and not because of the delicious food that was served). One of the best explanations I’ve ever had for ministry is called the buffet model, in which a truly comprehensive ministry needs to have several different types of events, just like a buffet needs to have several different dishes to make it a buffet. These ministry events could be catechesis/formation, socials, service and justice, etc. Regardless of what they are, they will each meet the different needs of young adults; the greater the diversity of events that are planned, the greater the number of young adults who will be reached.

Whether using Paul’s one-body approach, or the buffet model, the result was apparent at the networking event: there are a diversity of ministries, meeting the needs of many young adults. No two ministries are meeting those needs in exactly the same way, and that is an important thing to know!

If you are striving to minister to young adults and need support, please do not hesitate to contact Faith Connections. They can help!

— by Lauren van Vliet