(Theological) language is an important theme in youth ministry. Conveying the Gospel message entails making it accessible and understandable to young people. Thus, it is important to bridge the theological language gap that can exist between organisers and young people in New Ecclesial Movements (nems), movements associated with religious orders, and general youth ministry practice. By describing aspects of nems and Catholic youth ministry in the Netherlands, introducing the theological language gap and presenting early findings of a Franciscan Youth Work case study, this article proposes four organisational strategies to bridge the gap.
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Massimo Faggioli, Sorting out Catholicism: A brief history of the New Ecclesial Movements (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2014) and Brendan Leahy, Ecclesial Movements and Communities: Origins, Significance, and Issues (Hyde Park, ny: New City Press, 2011).
Staf Hellemans, “Imagining the Catholic Church in a World of Seekers” in A Catholic Minority Church in a World of Seekers, Eds. Staf Hellemans and Peter Jonkers (Washington dc: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2015), pp. 138–139. Here, Hellemans points to the ‘church growth research programme’ conducted by social scientists and church professionals in the Church of England. In addition to existing congregations and new church plants, the programme singles out for growth ‘fresh expressions’, “the Anglican label for experimental initiatives” (p. 139). These fresh expressions might constitute a parallel to nems.