How Fathers and Families Can Save Youth Ministry from Itself


Man is formed by two main things: family and Church. God made the family at creation and made the Church at the re-creation through Christ. One we inherit at birth and the other we inherit at our second birth (baptism).
What has happened in recent decades, however, is the unprecedented breakdown in both of those institutions, family and Church. They’re divine institutions, so they’re not going anywhere, but they’re populated by men, so it can get messy.
And I want to point out the findings of Mary Eberstadt in her book How the West Really Lost God to perhaps shift your thoughts on which of those two things decline first, or rather, which decline has a great effect on the other’s decline.
Most of us think it does like this: stupid, lame, and lethargic teaching hurts faith – bad preaching, wonky catechesis, etc.. Without faith, then, families begin to loosen at the seams and decline. Families suffer when faith suffers.
Eberstadt looks at the evidence and finds that the opposite is often true. While poor catechesis and soft morality do perpetuate the problem, it is the decline in the family that usually precedes the decline in faith. No, it’s not an “either/or” issue, but we at least need to understand that the health of the family and the health of faith are inseparable. Like a DNA strand, “family and faith are the invisible double helix of society – two spirals that when linked to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and momentum depend on one another” (Eberstadt).
Family life itself predisposes us and even prepares us for a life of faith. As St. John Paul famously said, the family is the “school of love”. Loving fathers reveal the face of the Father; tender mothers teach us the value of mercy; siblings teach us


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