The Seven Basic Models of Youth Ministry – PART 3


Part 1 of this extended article dealt with the following:

  • why I was inspired to write about “models”,
  • the basis in Dulles’ own book Models of the Church,
  • at least 6 reasons why to read about models,
  • the 3 principles behind models,
  • and a list of the models with a basic introduction to each.

Part 2 then listed each model in much more detail, along with pictures!

(Didn’t read Part 1 or 2 yet? Click here: Part 1 or Part 2)

Now let’s continue with Part 3:

Models of Youth Ministry 3

Below you can read about other aspects of “model theory” that can be taken into account, as well as some tips on application.

Other aspects of “model theory”

So much more can be said about models! For example, much more can be written on:

  • other aspects of ministry that add to the description each model,
  • the various combinations of models, with their strengths and weaknesses,
  • the discernment of the right model,
  • determining the circumstances in which a model is best fit,
  • the factors involved in sustaining a model in the long term,
  • how a theory of model encourages teamwork in a diocese.
  • etc!

I conclude with a few last minute tips:


There are several good combinations. An example of a good combination would be Complementary Program with Herald. The Herald model does a great job of networking with parishes and schools. The Complementary Program does a great job of offering ongoing formation to young people. If these two are combined, the Herald model could direct interested young people to join a Complementary Program where they would be able to have an ongoing experience of God. See the summary chart below to help you combine models effectively.

Focus, Humility and Perseverance

The key to any process is to make sure you are focused and persevere. At first a model may start off slowly  and results may be limited. Understand the model well and stay focused on the positives so you can take advantage of a model’s strength to build inertia. See if the weaknesses correspond to the model, in which case you need not worry until you are able to combine with another model. Have the humility it takes to accept that each model will resolve only some aspects of youth ministry, and not others. Lastly, persevere through the difficulties inherent in each model, especially if you are in the first few years of ministry.


A theory of models naturally promotes teamwork within the Church since it proves that no one person or organization can possibly establish a flawless youth ministry. A team of various people and organizations is absolutely needed in order to bring to life a dynamic youth ministry that employs various models in creative and intelligent ways. Also, a theory of models helps establish a common language on which to base strategic thinking. Without a theory of models (or at least something equivalent) a youth minister or organization or diocese is quite likely to miss out on an awesome youth ministry.


Thank you for reading this three part extended article on models of youth ministry. If you liked this article, please share it with someone! Thank you!

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[ Click here to learn about my book series on the Adolescent Jesus]