What is YDisciple?
YDisciple is a tool to multiply small group discipleship with teens in any parish.
How is it different from what Our Lady’s has been doing?
In many ways it isn’t different. Our Lady’s Youth Formation has had a successful, long standing history of forming teens in the Catholic/Christian faith using small groups. This has happened by design and by natural relationships. We are building on the success and blessing God has already given. Our goal is to strengthen the support we provide to youth and parents in the process of small group discipleship.
We have spent the last few years listening to parents, catechists, and teens. Through our people, the Church at large, and through God’s Holy Spirit, we have discerned as catechetical leaders that now is the time to strengthen the support we provide by implementing a small group formation process for teens to assist them as they transition into young adults.
What does a YDisciple Small Group “look like?”
2 Adult Mentors, same gender as the teens (for same gender groups, co-ed for co-ed groups).
5-8 teens, can be same or mixed gender groups.
Teens should be as close in age as possible, same grade and from the same school or neighborhood.
Meets 2-4 times a month for approximately 75-90 minutes.
A few times a year we will still meet in a large group at the parish.
Youth are welcomed by 2 Adult Mentors and enjoy snacks, socialize for several minutes before transitioning to sharing an opening prayer, and being introduced to the topic, activity or service project for the group time together. Before the group time ends, they close with a prayer and verify any details for their next gathering.
Why only 5—8 youth in a group?
Past experience has proven to us that the smaller the group, the better the engagement with the material, each other and the church community.
What if we (teen and parents) are not able to identify a group of 5-8 youth and 2 adult mentors or if we have a group size smaller than 5?
As in year’s past, Our Lady’s Youth Formation Team (Tom & Randy) will assist in introducing teens, adults and organizing a groups that are smaller than 5 or that need help connecting.
Will YDisciple Small Groups still meet on Wednesdays 8:15—9:30 pm every other week?
Yes, however if a small group can not meet on Wednesdays 8:15—9:30 pm, it will be the responsibility of the Adult Mentors to communicate with Our Lady’s Formation Office the day, time and place of the group meeting. Attendance tracking will still be an expectation and a small group can not change day/time/location of their meeting unless the changes work for all group members. Once a change is made to the day/time/location, it must remain locked in for the faith formation year.
Doesn’t encouraging friendship groups also encourage cliques?
Cliques form due to the insecurities of people. Through establishing a close bond, teens become more secure in who they are. This is key if we are to encourage teens to live their faith openly and not compartmentalize faith to one hour a week.
Will 9th grade groups still meet at Our Lady’s?
Yes, most 9th grade youth can not yet drive themselves and parents and family members still provide transportation. For ease of coordination 9th grade will still meet at Our Lady’s Wednesdays 8:15—9:30 pm
Will 10th—12th grades still meet in host homes?
Yes, Our Lady’s began this practice many years ago for a couple key reasons: we don’t have the physical space on campus to accommodate every small group, meeting in homes in small groups helps make a large community of believers feel smaller and more connected. Many youth and adults who have experienced this have reported to us that this is a strength of Our Lady’s Youth Formation process.
Will there be periodic large group gatherings at Our Lady’s for all 9th —12th grade youth?
Yes, we will gather periodically to pray, worship and build community.
YDisciple is a process, but is there a curriculum that accompanies it?
Yes, there is a catechetical curriculum that accompanies the YDisciple process. This will be used for the 11th— 12th grade small groups. 9th and 10th grade will still focus on preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation with a separate curriculum. All grades 9—12 will be referred to as YDisciple Small Groups.
What will 9th and 10th grade YDisciple Small Groups use for curriculum?
9th grade small groups will utilize the Alpha for Youth Series. This will be a year of “inquiry” for the 9th grade youth. The youth will focus on becoming a small group, building relationships with one another and study the basics of the Catholic/Christian faith. Topics will focus on the creed, seeking to make it come alive and relevant for youth in their daily lives. This series strives to bring the head and heart of faith together. There will still be a service and retreat component during the 9th grade year.
10th grade small groups will utilize the Chosen Series. This series continues to bring the head and heart of faith together and challenges youth to grow deeper in their discipleship to Jesus and his Church as they seek to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation so that they can launch into life-long, faith-filled discipleship for Jesus and his Church. There will still be a service and retreat component, as well as, one on one conversations with a sponsor during the 10th grade year.
Can non-Catholic youth be invited to be part of a YDisciple Small Group?
Yes, absolutely! (Provided groups don’t exceed 5-8 participants)
What qualifications are needed to be an Adult Mentor (catechist)?
Adult Mentors MUST: 1. Complete and satisfy a mandatory background check and youth safety training (Virtus) BEFORE being allowed to meet with youth in a small group setting. 2. Be ACTIVE, PRACTICING Catholics who attend mass regularly and witnesses to the life of discipleship as described in the Diocesan Code of Conduct. 3. Complete the provided Small Group Mentor Training.
Can parents be adult mentors?
Yes, however, it is encouraged (not required) that parents and youth of the same household discuss the pros and cons of being in the same or separate small groups. Why have this conversation? For some youth it is easier to be open when discussing faith as it relates to life. For other youth it isn’t. For some parents it is easy for them to allow their youth to be open when discussing faith as it relates to life. For other parents it isn’t.
I would like to offer my home as a meeting place, but I don’t feel comfortable being an Adult Mentor.
That’s awesome! Thank you for your willingness to host a small group. You will need to satisfy the Diocesan Safe Environment (Virtus) training and ideally already know some youth and adults that will be hosted by you in your home. Please contact Tom Primmer to discuss the logistics of hosting a small group.
Where can I see a sample of a YDisciple Small Group topic?
YDisciple topics are found on the web at www.formed.org—If you haven’t signed up for an account, it is free and you’ll need to use our parish code: Y6NDPT (case sensitive). Once logged in, search YDisciple.
Where can I see a sample of the Alpha and Chosen materials?
Please see Tom Primmer for a sample. Materials will be accessible through an on-line portal for Mentors (Catechists).
When will we be able to sign up and register a YDisciple Small Group?
YDisciple Small Groups will register at the same time registration opens for all Our Lady’s Youth Formation, August 1. Instructions will be mailed out in July to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart Households.
What if I am in a current faith formation group that is larger than 5-8 youth? Can we stay together?
Yes, simply discuss with each other and decide. Once decided, click “With the same group as last year” during the registration process.
Do small groups have to be same gender groups?
No they do not. However keep in minds some of the topics that groups can choose to study include applying faith, and church teaching to relationships, marriage, dating, sacredness in our sexuality, chastity and purity. These types of topics have a higher success of youth engagement when groups are made up of the same gender.
Will registering for Faith Formation be different?
Yes and no. High school groups have always had the option of staying together as a group and there has been an option to indicate this during registration. What will be different is if youth want to form a new group. There will be an option during the registration process to indicate this and communicate the names of the group members. It is advised that all members of a group list each other during the registration process so that the faith formation office knows they wish to be together.
A sample session includes:
Engaging videos addressing real-life concerns
Promo for Teens Video
YDisciple - How it came to into existence.