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Why is the DYLC so important?

25 years of forming Christian disciples

I have been involved in leadership formation of young people for more than three decades in many dioceses. I can honestly say that the Diocese of Lansing’s Diocesan Youth Leadership Camp employs the principles of youth ministry with more integrity than any other program I have seen.

The four dimensions of youth ministry are with, to, by and for. We minister to and for young people, but we also minister with them and often ministry is by them. Too many times, ministry leaders fail to appreciate the tremendous gift of faith in our young people. Too many times, we underestimate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in them and the gifts they have to share according to the ministries to which they have been called.

They are the body of Christ as much as any of us and they show it year after year at DYLC. For 10 months, 13 teens and a dozen adults work together as the DYLC team, planning every day of the leadership camp. These teens have gone through the DYLC experience themselves and are certified at Level I of our formation program for lay ecclesial ministers. They are gifted and faith-filled. They have depth in their planning and in their faith lives. They bring to the table so much enthusiasm and creativity – and a willingness to work with each other

The DYLC bears witness to what we teach and believe. The three goals of youth ministry are: forming Christian disciples; calling youth to responsible participation in the life and mission of the church; and responding to the total needs of youth. These goals guide the planning and implementation of DYLC every year. Teens come out of this experience ready to serve as disciples of Christ, in his church today. As you have read in this issue of FAITH, many parishes benefit from their service on parish youth ministry teams, pastoral councils, as catechists, youth leaders and in many other roles.

As time passes, many of these teen leaders continue to answer God’s call to ministry in vocations of priesthood, religious life, married life, lay ecclesial ministry and in many volunteer lay ministry positions in their parishes. We have helped produce a generation of spirit-filled, collaborative leaders, with the skills to serve and the heart of Christ’s love.

There will be a benefit dinner for DYLC on Oct.16, at The Ramada Hotel & Conference Center in Lansing. For information, please contact Pat Rinker, 517.342.2485, prinker@dioceseoflansing.org You can also search for the DLYC Alumni group on Facebook.

Pat Rinker is director of youth ministry and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Lansing.