Anthem Sprint

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01 WHY ANTHEM EXISTS - Faith of Youth in America - Anthem’s Why - Vision of Youth Ministry in Philadelphia - Operating Values - The Practical What


02 EVANGELIZATION & TRANSFORMATION - Fully Transformed - Milestones in Transformation - Authentic Conversation


03 REHAB OF THE HEART & MIND - Fully Transformed - Belong, Believe, Behave - Community Life - Rehab Mentorship - Effective Discipleship - Authentic Witness - Elements of Rehab Mentoring - Continual Growth


04 HEALING - Walking Through Healing - Helping Youth Find Healing - Empathy - Transform Others


05 PLAN IT OUT - Weekly Priorities - Designing Your Week - Meeting Structure - Communication with Anthem - Communication Strategies - Recommended Social Media Methods


06 ROOM LIFE - Prayer as Lifeblood - Practicals of Prayer - Personal Holiness Plan


07 BRINGING IT TO LIFE - Growing a Team - Identifying Obstacles - Dream Big - Your Parish - Ongoing Anthem Support


INTRODUCTION This document outlines the Anthem Sprint, a three day series of sessions designed to support ministry leaders in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The goal of this sprint is to accompany and strengthen you as leaders, working together to most effectively reach the teens that you serve. Our desire is to walk alongside you, working together to draw the youth of the Church into the heart of Christ.




According to a US study conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) in August of 2016, young Catholics are leaving their faith at an alarming rate. As of the August 2016 study, 10% of Americans are former Catholics, and according to the Pew Research Center, 79% left the Church before the age of 24. At the time of the study, 15% of young adults aged 18-29 identified as Catholic, while 39% identified as without religion+. Of those without religion, 64% were raised as religious, but later left their faith. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, there are around 278,795 young Catholics under 18 who need to be ministered to. Yet out of 217 parishes in the Archdiocese, just 12% have a full or part time youth minister, and there are only 18 young adult ministry groups active in the Archdiocese. We have a key role to play together — to invite our youth back into the heart of Christ.




As Anthem, Philadelphia’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, we exist to reveal Jesus, discover identity, and belong to the Church.

As Anthem, Philadelphia’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, we exist to reveal Jesus, discover identity, and belong to the Church. Reveal Jesus Show the true person of Jesus to those who may only be familiar with a shallow figure as depicted by modern day popular culture. Lead others to a real encounter with Christ in the sacraments, and a personal friendship made possible through the Holy Spirit. Discover Identity Help others to shift their personal value from who they pretend or desire to be to the discovery of their identity as known and loved by God. Belong to the Church Focus on belonging to the bride of Christ, firstly in order to participate in the community of the body of Christ, and secondly, in order to come to a true appreciation of the teaching Magisterium.


“Evangelizers thus take on the ‘smell of the sheep’ and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance.”


Initial Evangelizati (LOVE REVEALED)







a (Reh

rt and Mind) the Hea b of

Missionary Initiative (Transform Others)

Ongoing Formation (BRAIN FOOD)


Initiatory Catechesis (DIVING DEEP)

Initial Conversion (CUT TO THE HEART)


As youth ministers working to invite teens into the heart of Christ, we must “take on the smell of the sheep.” This means that we do not stand back and invite teens from a distance, but rather, that we meet them exactly where they are at. Diving Deep Once a person has experienced being “cut to the heart” and is actively pursuing a personal relationship with Christ, they go through a period of formation in the Christian life. This stage helps to form the individual’s faith, growing it deeper and stronger. Pursuit of Holiness Striving for personal holiness. This is a lifelong process of growth in virtue, good works, and relationship with Christ. Brain Food There is always more to learn about Jesus and His Church. Working to grow onward and upward is an acceptance of continual learning, seeking to learn and grow within a community of believers. Life Transformer The cycle of evangelization is truly complete when the newly discipled are reaching out to others. The good news of the gospel changes hearts and lives, and its transformative healing, once experienced, needs to be shared with others. ANTHEM SPRINT



“I don’t think the first form of evangelization is to proclaim Jesus. The first evangelization consists in offering everyone a place where they can laugh, dance, celebrate and experience a sense of belonging. Joy comes from feeling you belong to a community, from being happy together, from no longer being alone. The greatest means of small communities where there are happy, joyful people who care for one another.” - JEAN VANIER, founder of L’Arche REHAB OF THE HEART & MIND

Belong → Believe → Behave

The most effective model is one in which people first understand that they belong, go on to accept belief, and finally, choose a change in behavior. Following these three steps helps to create a structure of formation and real belonging. It is empty to ask (or worse, to tell) someone to change their behavior without a foundation of belonging. As youth ministers, our place is never to tell a teen to change their behavior before they know that they belong in Christ’s Church. Instead, we should welcome them and invite them into a sense of belonging. Once a person is secure in belonging, they are open to the concept of belief. This openness comes with the sure knowledge of the heart behind it all. After a person has experienced the unconditional love of Christ and His Church, they have an understanding of the value and heart of belief. Rooted in secure belonging with a heart of belief, someone is able to move into the realm of behavior. Only once this foundation is in place do we have the ability to effectively talk about behavior. Ministry should be centered around these principles. Bringing teens to a sense of belonging begins with your leaders. These key relationships can help to determine the level of acceptance and comfort that a teen feels, which is why we will also dive into how to ensure that your teens are surrounded by strong leaders. ANTHEM SPRINT




“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets‌


…rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church concerned with being at the center and which then ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.” – POPE FRANCIS, The Joy of the Gospel

It has been famously quoted that “the church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” Yet sometimes, it feels so hard to be vulnerable, to admit that we are broken and in need of healing. The heart of Christ is a safe place, and we need to experience His love for ourselves. Our role is to be authentic missionaries to teens, ready to reach out to those struggling with the most difficult wounds. However, we need to have experienced Christ’s transformative power in our lives before we can in turn be life transformers ourselves. With the help of Christ, the Divine Physician, we can confront our own brokenness, asking for His light, revelation, and healing operation. By admitting our weakness and opening our hearts, we are laying ourselves on the operating table and trusting His divine work. We need to let ourselves be cut to the heart by His love in order to find healing. ANTHEM SPRINT



We have been created to live in total freedom, unrestrained by sin and pain. God made us good, and His desire for us is to freely express who we are as beloved. As St. Irenaeus famously stated: “The glory of God is in man fully alive.� We live fully alive when we live out a sense of secure belonging. Yet we fall short. We feel confined, held back by our own shortcomings, and fail to rest in our freedom and security as beloved. Often, instead of living fully alive, we live out of fear, which is a fruit of woundedness.



A wound is the opposite of God’s love; it is an experience of un-love. This is where the Enemy thrives, and where he works to bring discord. He uses a wound to create fractures, and tries hard to spread these cracks through our whole being. Wounds are a place of deep hurt in our psychological level, generally caused by some experience of un-love in our lives. For many, this was something that occurred at a young age, and has built up beliefs that we hold deeply, though often unconsciously. In time, these beliefs become the lens through which we view the world. When a wound occurs, it is surrounded by pain, which is in turn surrounded by fear of further hurt. Driven by this fear, we try to protect ourselves by turning to managing behaviors. We instinctively try and fix ourselves in order to avoid experiencing the pain again. These managing behaviors take many different forms. We try to compensate for our pain through: Anger Shame Resentment Isolation

Numbness Self-recrimination Rationalization Judgmentalism

Controlling behaviors Self-medication

Ultimately, we are never able to fix ourselves. As hard as we try to cope, these managing behaviors are not enough. They result in a hardness of heart which can lead to depression or anxiety, and accepting the belief that things can never change. We are not created to be wounded. We are created to be loved.




Our Divine Physician works through blessing; simply, an authentic experience of love. A blessing is the opposite of a wound, and this is where His healing flows into our brokenness. When we experience authentic love, we are filled with gratitude and security in being loved. We are peaceful, secure in the knowledge that we are loved as we are. From there, we become free with our own personal expressions of being beloved. In order to experience blessing, all that is necessary is to put yourself in God’s love. Expose yourself to an authentic encounter with God’s individual care for you. In this place of unconditional love, we grow in security, gratitude, and the deep certainty that we are truly beloved.






Be intentional while choosing your leaders.

Life is better and we are more effective when we do not work alone. Invest in good leaders who multiply your time & passion. Build a unified team of fellow evangelists who function as a community and work together to carry out the mission. Recognize that investing time in your leaders will multiply the impact and support that you can bring to your teens.

It is important to have a team that you can trust, a team that will support you in leadership and responsibility. Be careful not to only look for leaders that are the most “charismatic” or obvious choice, and don’t expect your leaders to be perfect in order to qualify. However, choose leaders who are committed to living a life in accord with Christ and His Church, leaders that are willing to sacrifice for the mission, work alongside you, and give of themselves in order to bring others to Christ.


Work as a Team Leadership team retreats are highly recommended. Where possible, a weekend retreat is suggested to maximize opportunities for bonding, spiritual growth, and workshops. If budget or schedules don’t allow you to invest in a full weekend retreat, be intentional about creating time for your leadership team to bond with you and each other. Hold training workshops to challenge your team to grow in different areas such as authentic relational ministry (also known as discipleship), effective small groups, or giving an impactful testimony. Exercise trust in your team. Don’t let everything remain in your own hands, but instead give yourself the freedom to trust your team with responsibility. On the flip side, this shouldn’t come across as over-expectant and uninvolved. Rather, be a confident leader working to do the heavy lifting, while calling on your team in order to lift more together. Keep Doing Stop Doing Be confident in affirming each other and challenging each other. Once every few months, we recommend setting aside some time to have a team meeting called “keep doing stop doing.” During this meeting, have every team member take some time to think about each person on the team, and list for each one something positive that they appreciate and want to see continue, and one constructive thing that would help them if the other stopped doing. These meetings are not meant to be a tear down, but rather, an opportunity to grow collectively.





Every youth ministry comes with obstacles, and each parish has its own set of potential threats to your ministry’s effectiveness. You already know that ministry can be difficult — after all, you’re doing great and necessary work for the Kingdom. We want to remind you that obstacles in ministry are normal, and possible to overcome. Make a list of the challenges in your parish. These may include limited budget, your location, uninvolved parents, lack of a leadership team, etc. This exercise is intended to help you gather awareness of your obstacles, and move towards dealing positively with or overcoming them. It is not to discourage you, but it is to recognize the specific areas of challenge that need attention. If these problems are chronically ignored, they will not be fixed. We also want to remind you that while there are obstacles that you can change, there may also be some that you cannot change. Don’t waste time and effort changing what you simply do not have the ability to do. Keep in mind that Anthem is here for you as a resource and support. Once you’ve identified some of these obstacles, look at ways that we can act to support you. For instance, if a roadblock is lack of parental involvement, we can work with you to strategize ways to move forward and overcome the obstacle.



Don’t get stuck inside a box…


…whatever that looks like for you in ministry. Give yourself permission to make goals that require great faith and great hope. Your dreams should be so big that they scare you, so big that you know you can’t achieve them on your own without God’s help. Don’t put limits on what you can achieve with God. In short — dream big. ANTHEM SPRINT



Assets Make a list of the key supporters in your parish. Consider different types of support; passionate, relevant people who are potential ministry leaders, invested financial supporters, wise counsellors, administrative volunteers. Once you have compiled a list of these supporters, make a game plan. This should begin with a meeting as an initial action step, and may blossom into a longer term plan like a bi-monthly ministry check in. Invest in the relationship, and welcome them to support the ministry.


Battle Plan What does success look like in your parish? Write down goals for your parish. We give you permission to dream big. Three Months:

One Year:

Three Years:

Ten Years:



The mission of bringing teens to Christ is truly crucial. We have been entrusted with a calling that is alive, dynamic, always present and evolving. Know that you are not in this on your own.



We are here to help you develop a long-term plan for ministry success, and to support you in bringing the vision to life. This includes helping you to coordinate with your pastor and parish council, navigate core team dynamic, and adjust and manage for change. We seek to journey on this mission together, supporting each other and working together to share the freedom and love of Christ and His Church with the thirsty. ANTHEM SPRINT