Beyond the Jargon of “Outreach”

By Paul Cizek, Youth Minister

Holy Family has long prioritized “outreach.” We consistently go beyond our campus walls into our surrounding communities and sometimes even abroad. And when we go beyond our walls, we believe we’re following where our Lord Jesus has already gone: to be with the poor, lonely, sick, and imprisoned. Outreach matters in this parish.

But what is “outreach?” A buzzword? Just jargon? “Outreach” is certainly a bit abstract and perhaps a bit vague. So what is it… and why do we do it? Lots of people volunteer or earn service hours. So why do we as a church believe that our outreach has anything to do with following Jesus – with being Christians?

Over the next few months, Holy Family’s youth will have an opportunity to explore these questions through classroom discussions and hands-on experience:

Middle School Sunday School is in the middle of a six week exploration of outreach.  Diane Steinhaus launched the discussion in week 1 with some big questions about outreach (“What is outreach? Why do it?) and in the weeks to come various members of Holy Family will visit the class to share stories and pictures about their work with Habitat for Humanity, Prison Ministry, South Sudan, and more.

Between now and May, middle and high school youth will also have the opportunity to visit Carolina Meadows and the Goodwill Farm.  These two sites were chosen by youth preparing for Confirmation through Youth Journey in Faith.  At the farm, youth will work in a garden that provides food for the poor, and at Carolina Meadows youth will teach residents basic computer/internet skill for keeping in touch with their families (i.e. Skyping).

In all this, pray that “outreach” becomes a concrete and tangible way in which our youth learn to follow Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *