The Diocese of Richmond has required that all catechists undergo training and certification, so this weekend a number of us went away on retreat to view videos and complete question forms to meet the requirements. We stayed in a very nice house at a center maintained by the Episcopalian Diocese of Southern Virginia, which they very kindly made available for our use. The food was very good and the fellowship even better. I learned a few things and believe we made some decisions that will improve our youth program. We use the Life Teen program. I highly recommend it. There was a time when some of the liturgical practices suggested by Life Teen were not in conformance to the requirements, but that is no longer the case. Their Life Night packages are engaging, fun and based on the solid foundation of the Liturgy and the CCC.
I was out of step though. Fully half the participants had laptops along, which allowed them to take notes and complete their assignments while we talked. I quickly scribbled undecipherable notes, which I must go through tomorrow to complete the forms. This due to the fact that my laptop is in the posession of my son who is away at college. His broke down and I have not yet made the decision of whether I am going to replace his or get a new one for myself.
One of the areas we discussed was relational ministry; how we should make our young charges feel we are available as mentors and spiritual helpers to them, especially in times of need. While we were gone one of our kids lost his step-father, and naturally we were all away and unavailable. Thank the Lord for cell phones. While we were generally unavailable caller ID and voice mail allowed us to return calls during the breaks for ministerial situations.
Always a hard thing to balance private time, for prayer and meditation, with the omnipresent communication available with today's tehcnology.
Speaking of technology I've got to give an unsolicited plug to Easy Worship software. We use it for XLT (EXaLT Him) and Life Night. If you've been using Powerpoint, or it's Open Office equivalent Impress, to display lyrics for your worship music then it's time to come into the 21st century. This is a very good program. It lets you jump around between verses (mandatory with our last youth music minister) and quickly move between songs in any order. You can also select Powerpoint presentations (much more useful for talk outlines than for music lyrics) and even videos. My youth minister says it's possible to download songs directly into the software, from online, so that you don't have to type in the words. (They come complete with copyright notice, for a very reasonable cost.) We have a site license, so that we can use it on multiple machines.
Gee, my first software review!