Anthem’s mission to the youth of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is in fact to the ones who are in direct contact with them: the youth ministers. Anthem’s role is to empower youth ministers to be the best version of themselves and encourage them to do their job to the highest degree of their capacity. These people who are transforming lives are far more valuable than Anthem could ever be to the youth since they are the ones building consistent, reliable, authentic relationships on a regular basis. Empowering youth ministers with the training and tools to do well in life and be great at their jobs is one of the most important goals of Anthem.
In a culture where things are changing so quickly, this new way of running the Office is more than just a flashy brand - it’s a change in focus that allows and encourages regular involvement and interaction between the Office and the youth ministers. The youth ministers are the real heros, the ones on the ground every day trying to connect with youth in meaningful and positive ways.
A large part of the way Anthem operates is running youth minister sprints. These are in-depth strategic training sessions that cover best practices for how to plan and execute effective ministry, as well as fully embody the beauty and truth of the Catholic Church in every aspect of their work.
Sprints are based on a mixture of research from Sherry Weddell, the seasoned ministry experience of people like Jim Beckman and Neal Lozano, all wrapped in methodology from Google Ventures as well as other design thinking principles.
“I have found that the Sprint with Anthem is a must-have experience! They have allowed for our youth ministry program to better envision what was possible for us and how we could reach it. The time with Megan and Jacob has been extremely valuable and their personal recommendations for how our youth groups might better operate have revolutionized the way we conduct day-to-day operations. The abundant insight from Anthem, their resources, and the feedback from fellow youth ministers combine to help formulate a personalized sort of roadmap to success. Youth ministry can, at times, feel hopelessly vast and difficult to manage. To have a plan – and a good one – is as helpful as it is empowering. I would suggest these Sprints to every youth minister at any parish!”
Parish Youth Ministry Coordinator
St. Elizabeth Parish
"The sprint series is the professional development I’ve wanted in Philadelphia for years! It wasn’t like your typical training where you have a guest speaker come from out of town and teach everyone their views on youth ministry. The Sprint is a process that walked through the problems and needs specific to my own ministry and allowed me to work with my team to articulate a ministry vision that will allow us to form lifelong disciples!"
Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
“BE WHO GOD MEANT YOU TO BE AND YOU WILL WILL SET THE WORLD ON FIRE”
The main purpose of the sprint is the transformation of the youth minister. By encouraging personal relationships with Jesus, digging deeper into healing and discipleship, these ministers are being further transformed in order to transform others. In the book Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell’s research indicates the Catholic Church ranks last of all major religions in evangelization — we’re providing models and tools to change this reality. Their witness to a life that’s different from the culture, or perhaps even different than the experience people have had of the Church growing up, is a powerful way to preach the gospel and be proof of the joy that comes from being an intentional disciple.
“Ministering to teens and young adults is not all fun and games. It’s hard and has eternal consequences – the weight of it can get pretty heavy. The Anthem Sprints gave me the tools, plans, and support that I was lacking to get the job done, do it well, and do it with joy. Walking with those in Anthem and other youth ministers has caused me to be more motivated and focused on the important things and leave the distractions behind so as to do what the Lord is asking and leave the heavy lifting to Him.”
Director of Youth Ministry
St. Norbert Parish
In addition to running sprints for youth ministers, Anthem is working with St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to run these sprints with seminarians in the archdiocese. The goal is to offer a sprint for seminarians to help foster pastoral skills relevant to youth and young adult ministry. These seminarians are integral to the life of the Church and aiding their formation with strategic and fundamentally Catholic principles is a great opportunity for Anthem.
“Many of the themes emphasized in the [Sprint] are ones we have found mentioned in the diocesan reports for the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, namely, that young people seek a relationship with Christ, expect authenticity from the Church, and desire to be welcomed into and become part of a community. The special emphasis on Christ’s healing mercy is especially important today, and is something we see a need for frequently in our work. Anthem’s Youth Ministry Sprint is an ambitious response to an area of ministry in need of great attention from our Church. Please be assured of continued prayers from our staff.”
Andrew W. Lichtenwalner & Paul Jarzembowski
Executive Director & Assistant Director
Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
“I found the sprint material to be both beautiful and compelling! This is wonderfully well done and will be a great assistance to our youth ministers.”
Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M . CAP.
Archbishop of Philadelphia