Productive Catholic » faith Thu, 09 Jan 2014 18:23:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 5 Catholic Social Networking Sites That You Should Know About Tue, 25 Aug 2009 00:01:51 +0000 Social networking is the quickly becoming the premiere means of developing strong and communicative groups that would otherwise be unable to function on a large scale.  Unfortunately, not everyone is jumping on the web 2.0 bandwagon as quickly as they should (Catholic Church… I’m looking in your direction…).  While it may be forgivable for a parish to not have an up-to-date website, it is simply a sin not to take advantage web 2.0 phenomenon.  Fortunately, there are some fantastic Catholics out there that realize the importance of modern communication as a means of evangelization and fellowship.  Here are 5 blossoming Catholic social networking sites that you should check out right now!

Photo by JohnRodgers


FlockNote – “As a leader in the Catholic community, you can send notes to your entire flock – or just a specific group – without the frustrating job of managing multiple mailing lists by email. As a member, you can get the latest news and information from the groups you care about – through the website, email, txt message, and more.”

Catholic Community – “If you run a group, organization or parish you can use this community to promote your aims, charisms and your news and events. When people link to your group you can not only keep them up to date, but they can meet other people who share a passion for your work.”

4 Marks – Definitely one of the preeminent Catholic social networking sites out there. The 4 Marks site sates that, “Whether you are an established writer or an aspiring apologist; a lay person or a consecrated religious – 4 Marks encourages you to share your talent and your identity as part of the 4marks community.”

catholic social networking can make the world smallerXt3 – According to the site: “Launched at WYD08, Xt3 is the fastest growing social network of its kind, with members throughout the world from over 200 countries. Xt3 connects you with people who want to make a difference and helps you build a better world. Everyone is welcome.”

MyCatholicVillage -  My Catholic Village is the MySpace of Catholic social networking sites.  It’s not as active as some of the other sites, but it is still a neat place to check out.


Catholic social networking sites are great, but don’t forget that mainstream social networking sites are also a worthwhile place to share your faith with Catholics and Non-Catholics alike.  I use Twitter and Facebook like there is no tomorrow, and I have met a great bunch of faithful Catholics through both of them.

If you know of other good Catholic social networking sites, let me know in the comments and I will add them to this post!

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6 Steps to Developing a Successful Youth Ministry Program Wed, 29 Jul 2009 19:24:29 +0000 Nothing sparks a fire in the life of a parish quite like a thriving youth ministry program.  Unfortunately, many churches – although their heart may be in the right place – have no idea how to develop a lively program that lasts.  Well, if you are a youth leader, pastor, or a Catholic that wants to help turn your parish’s dull and dying youth ministry program around – you are in luck.  Here are some tips that will turn your program from drab to fab!

Photo by Tiego Cassol

Get Your Pastor’s Support

Any professional will tell you, if you don’t get support from upper management your program will fail.  This is no different in ministry.  Your pastor has to be fully on board in order for your program to succeed.  This does not mean that he needs to be in charge, but that he will be there for help with anything from finances, to advertising your group at Mass and other places, or to offer words of encouragement.  As long as your program is supported by the pastor, you will have the foundation to build a long lasting and enjoyable program.

youth group at church worshiping

Find a GREAT Place to Host the Ministry

The next thing that should be on your list of things to do is to find a place where your group can meet.  Here is my list of must haves when it comes to youth ministry facilities.

  1. The facility should be carpeted.  This allows for good musical acoustics (you can’t have youth ministry without LIVE music) and you don’t have to worry about teens slipping and falling during games and such.  Plus, it just looks nice and modern.
  2. The place should have enough room for a projector screen and speakers.  I don’t mean a small screen, it needs to be BIG enough for everyone to see.
  3. The place needs to be primarily used for youth ministry.  Nothing says “you aren’t a priority” quite like sharing a place with 50 other ministries.  Plus, if you have a dedicated space, it makes it easier to make the facility decor youth focused.

Adults are Facilitators, Not Leaders

Youth programs are for the youth.  That means that the first-line leaders of the program should not be Adults, but should be young adults or representatives from the teens themselves.  The role of adults should be that of a facilitator and spiritual director (if you don’t have an available priest).  Adults should focus on the overall strategy of the program and the goals that should be met – while allowing allow young leaders to take charge in the direct interaction with the teens.  This is not easy to do and it takes time to determine who out of the pool of teens and young adults has the charisma and maturity to lead, but if you allow leadership to flourish among their ranks, you will reap the benefit 7 fold.

Don’t believe me?  Check out this post: Use the Power of Middle Schoolers for Your VBS

youth group out in the woods

Be Challenging and Unique

Teens have a whole host of things that they could be doing throughout the day, and the last thing on their mind is church.  If your program is not fun, unique, and challenging, then there is nothing that is going to attract a teen to leave their games, sports, or other activities to come to your program.  Teens typically want three things: to be entertained (aesthetics), to be listened to (questions and answers to tough questions about the faith), and to be a part of something big (friendship). If you want your group to be magnetic, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What does a teen get at my program that they can’t get anywhere else?
  2. Do the teens at my program have reasons to come back (friends, accountability to youth leadership, leadership roles, answers to hard-hitting questions, etc.)
  3. If I were a teen, would I spend my extra time at my program?
  4. Do I water down the spiritual?  (i.e. do I stick to “Jesus loves you” catechesis, or do I present hard theological, philosophical, and moral topics regularly?)

Challenge your youth leaders and they will challenge your teens.  If there is nothing in your program that the youth can’t get anywhere else, it will shrivel to nothing.

Get EVERYONE in the Church Involved!

Ministry is not one-sided.  If you want to bring more members into your group, you will need to enlist the help of others.  You will need adult leaders, subject matter experts (for Q&A), marketers (web developers and such.  See my post: How to Make a Beautiful Church Website on the Cheap to make a great website for your group), and a whole host of other talented individuals to help with your program.  Leverage off of the help of others in order to make your program successful.

Note: You will need to communicate with your staff, so checkout flockNote to set up some sweet communicability.

Do Your Research!

The most important thing that you can do for your program is to emulate another successful program.  Get in touch   youth ministry leader that you admire.  Take them out to lunch and pick their brain.  It will be the best $20 dollars that you’ve ever spent.  By getting advice from a leader of a successful program, you will save time and money by avoiding pitfalls that they will likely warn you about and by leveraging off their proven success. If there are no successful Catholic programs in your area, find a great non-Catholic program and take their youth leader to lunch.  It’s not that hard and it will be a very good investment for your program.

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3 Ways for Families to Get the Most from Mass Thu, 23 Jul 2009 19:46:59 +0000 Becoming a parent definitely changes the rules when it came to Mass attendance.  Often, you are likely to find yourself focused on your children rather than on the celebration.  While it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is probably not the best situation to be in.  How can you make the most of Mass and take care of your family at the same time?  Here are some tips that should help.

Photo by duluoz catz

Read the Missal Before Mass

The portion of the Mass that is typically missed the most by busy parents are the readings.  To alleviate this, try to read them with the entire family before going to Mass.  You’ll find that you retain more, and that they are more meaningful when you do hear them at Mass, than if you were to just listen to them read by the lector.  Plus, it’s a great opportunity for your family to discuss and ask questions about the readings and how they relate to each other.

glorious picture of a catholic church during mass timeGive Assignments to Your Family

Give each member of your family the opportunity to become a subject matter expert of a particular portion of the Mass.  By doing this, you can inspire your family to take a more active role in what goes on.  For example, You can assign your son or daughter to give a speech or presentation on the first reading, have each family member pick a portion of the Mass that is unfamiliar and research it, or challenge your kids to ask the priest about a certain portion of his homily.  The possibilities are endless, but you will definitely see an increase in the interest of your family almost immediately.

Quiz Your Family on the Mass or Catholicism in General

Finally,  why not have a pre-made quiz made up for your kids in which, if they answer them all, they get a prize or kudos?  Sometimes bribery is not a bad thing, especially when it brings someone closer to God.  Of course, you don’t want them to focus on the prize, but on the parts of the Mass or Catholicism in general.  Plus, You will learn more about your faith by doing this too!  If you don’t know much about your faith, you can always look online for Catholic quizzes like the one below:

World’s Toughest Catholic Quiz


All of these tips can be summarized in one simple sentence: make the Mass a fun and interactive experience for your family and you will see their love for it increase.

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