Catholic youth yearn for a real relationship with Christ and to be exposed to the depth of His Catholic Church. But, youth ministers across the nation leave ministry burnt out and broken because of a lack of formation and support.
Often, only large parishes are able to hire full-time, qualified ministers. Smaller parishes are unable to budget for a dynamic formation program in their church. There is a fast turn-over rate in youth ministers, and in today’s common model of one minister per parish, churches lose out on the many talents and experiences that could be achieved by a team of formation leaders, who could collaborate to provide a more enhanced ministry experience. Most parishes are lucky if they can hire just one youth minister. Ablaze makes it possible for every parish over 500 families to afford a team of trained youth ministers forging their youth for Christ.
The mission of Ablaze Ministries is to implement the U.S. Bishops’ vision of comprehensive youth ministry, by engaging, nurturing, and empowering discipleship in young people, ministers and volunteers, as well as within families.
For the youth: Ablaze Ministries enables schools and parishes of all sizes to sustain professional, cost-effective, and enthusiastic ministry rooted in prayer, fellowship, and formation. Our ministry enables collaboration of community parishes, highlighting the true union of the universal Church.
For the ministers: Ablaze Ministries provides youth ministers with spiritual formation, professional training, and theological teaching. Our team of missionary ministers work together in community, sharing each other’s gifts and holding each other accountable to meet the needs and the call of the Catholic Church.
Directors of Youth or Campus Ministry serve as full time missionaries with a two year commitment and support the ministers of Ablaze Ministries. Directors oversee the ministry programs to ensure the quality of ministry provided to parishes and schools meets the standards of Ablaze Ministries. Directors meet with those they mentor in ministry to hold them accountable to their personal formation and the health of their ministry.
Campus Ministers are supervised by a Director of Campus Ministry and their school’s Principal (or staff member reporting to Principal). Campus ministers serve a two year commitment with Ablaze Ministries and, along with their ministry partner, develop and coordinate campus ministry including implementation of discipleship groups, service experiences, semester retreats, daily prayer experiences, relational ministry, and faculty formation. Campus ministers serve as an extension of the youth minister and are a resource to the faculty on campus.
Youth Ministers are supervised by Directors of Youth Ministry and their parish pastor (or parish staff member reporting to pastor). Youth ministers serve a two year commitment with Ablaze Ministries and, with their ministry partner, develop and coordinate a youth ministry program, form intentional disciples, and present the faith in a way that is relevant to young people. The program creatively implements weekly youth nights, small groups, service experiences, semester retreats, prayer experiences, relational ministry, and outreach to volunteers.
Timothy Missionaries serve as part time missionaries with a one-year commitment. Ablaze Ministries provides training throughout the summer before Timothy Missionaries enter ministry for the duration of the fall and spring semesters. Timothy Missionaries support outreach efforts and evangelization within their assigned ministry, growing in ministry experience to later take on a position as a youth minister or campus minister if they choose to do so.
All of the above jobs are considered missionary roles. Ablaze Missionaries are individuals called to serve the Church and participate in the original mission, “to make disciples of all nations,” entrusted by our Savior to the Apostles in Matthew 28:19. Because of this radical connection to the mission of the Church, missionaries of Ablaze Ministries are dependent on raising their own salary while supporting their ministry.
When hired, missionaries meet with the Ablaze leadership team to review their previous theological formation. The missionary will then complete formation at the guidance of the leadership team and their Director of Youth Ministry. Ablaze Ministries’ theological formation meets the Diocese of Austin’s requirements for Catechist Level 1 Certification. Missionaries attend the St. John Bosco Conference by the Franciscan University at Steubenville as well as other professional youth ministry conferences and trainings when available.
Ablaze is excited to partner with Everett Fritz and St. Andrew Missionaries to provide Ablaze missionaries with discipleship training throughout the ministry year. Discipleship is greatly needed in youth ministry today and Everett Fritz brings many years of experience in developing powerful discipleship programs. Everett Fritz is the founder and Executive Director of St. Andrew Missionaries. He authored the best selling book, Freedom: Battle Strategies for Conquering Temptation – a guide for young men trapped in the shackles of sexual sin. Everett regularly speaks on the topics of discipleship, youth evangelization and chastity. Everett and his wife Katrina reside in Denver, Colorado with their children.