What is Ignite?
"When I was confirmed, I was alongside 84 other teens. When I returned the following year to help as a core team leader, there were only 4 of us. On my senior year, there was myself and one other.
"Since then, I've been fascinated with understanding how we are falling short in providing a ministry for youth that they want to be a part of. Not just something that would work for my parish, but that would enable anyone to attract youth to the faith, teach them the truths of the faith without coming off as preachy or condescending, and keep them coming back for more, even after Confirmation.
"The answer we came up with is Ignite."
- Connor McLaughlin, Founder
The Ignite Difference
When building Ignite, our goal was to answer a few questions that come with running a Youth Ministry:
1. How do I get youth interested in the faith?
2. How do I teach the faith without it feeling like a class?
3. How do I get youth to keep coming back, even after confirmation?
Ignite tackles these by empowering youth ministers to build a community where teens enjoy their time learning about the faith.
Ignite is based off the concept of small group discipleship. Youth are in groups of their peers discussing topics they are interested in. Diversity of thought and opinion is encouraged, and they are able to discuss these topics while growing in community with their small group. Instead of a chore that they are being forced to attend, Ignite makes Youth Group a welcoming place of community and truth-seeking rather then another class.
Each group is led by a Core Leader who is there to keep the conversations on topic. They are given materials that allow them to understand the topics being discussed, as well as prompts to guide conversation.
The youth are given materials as well, from which they receive the guidance of Scripture, the Catechism, and the saints to contribute thousands of years of insight into the discussion.
Ignite is the only youth ministry tool that comes with materials for 4 full years of discussion, covering topics like "Who is God," "What was I made for," the dignity of the human person, prayer, discernment, social teaching, the Creed, the sacraments, and more!
This means that, right out of the box, your parish can have a Youth Ministry program that engages students with new discussion for all 4 years of High School. Add that to the community they will be developing with their small groups, and you are ministering in a way that allows the youth of your parish to go into the world understanding the faith and proud to be Catholic.
It's difficult to get youth to open up. With our materials, there are no videos, no checklists of questions, and no need to wonder who is going to talk. We are creating an environment where youth want to share by genuinely asking for their opinions on topics that they care about.
As the groups grow more comfortable with each other over time, this will lead to less awkward silence and more genuine conversation.
The format of the materials lend themselves to conversation as well. We give youth the actual information on what the Church believes, supported by scripture, tradition, and the wealth of knowledge from holy men and women, providing them with the fullest ability to discern the faith as their own.
What are the 4 Years?
Year 1 is devoted to the teens developing an understanding of who God is and why he loves us, and what our response to that love can be. It prompts personal discovery with sessions like “Why am I Here” “What is Love” and “What Was I Created For."
Year 2 (usually 10th grade) shows teens the importance of the Church; going into detail on topics such as suffering, martyrs, immorality, and a life of virtue.
Year 3 strengthens a teen's desire to live out their faith and grow closer to Christ, focusing on strengthening their personal life, both intellectually and spiritually. Topics range from discussions on personal charisms and discernment to cultivating a life of prayer.
Year 4 prepares the teens for living as a Catholic in the secular world, especially in college. Discussions are centered on evangelization, how to talk about the faith, and advanced discussions on cultural and social teachings of the Church.
Please note: while the names and locations have been changed, the following real life examples show the wide diversity in Ignite's usage!
Jonathon works part time as the youth minister for a small, rural parish. He only has a few volunteers, so he uses Ignite as a supplement with other programs to make it easier for volunteers to run the small groups without going over his hours creating a lesson plan. He also uses Ignite for discussion nights during the summer.
Lauren works in a diocese where Confirmation happens in 8th grade. Because of this, she uses Ignite for her 9th-12th grade ministry. Since each lesson stands on its own, Lauren starts the year asking the youth what they want to talk about, and is able to pick the lessons that apply, along with any specific themes for the year.
Erin works for a massive parish, with almost 200 teens per grade. Since the majority of the kids go to the attached Catholic School, she uses Ignite so that youth group doesn't feel like another class, and teens are able to discuss the topics in a personal way. She runs each grade separately, with years 3 and 4 being for the core team of 11th and 12th graders, who are also small group leaders for the younger grades.
It's a great program and the subjects are great for what our youth are facing today in everyday life and trying to stay strong in their faith .
Transfiguration Catholic Church used the Ignite program last year for our high school teens. The format of the lessons appealed to our teens and our small group leaders because it is concise and easy to understand and follow. The discussion questions were open ended, allowing for nice conversation starters. This program helped lead us from a teaching model to an accompaniment/discussion group model of Faith Formation. I highly recommend the program!
What Ministry Leaders
But wait, there's more!
In addition to the 84 student and leader guides, a purchase of Ignite also comes with:
-8 retreat templates (4 weekend and 4 afternoon)
-Adjustable schedules for each year
-Assistance with customization and optimization for your parish
-Core Team training for your first year (via video conference)
-Ongoing support and mentorship from our team as needed
-Free upgrades to any of our optimizations to Ignite, such as our future mobile app