The Center for Ministry Development promotes the development of ministry and catechesis with youth and families through leadership formation, service learning, and resources rooted in Catholic tradition and Scripture.
The Center for Ministry Development is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
The vision of the Center for Ministry Development is reflected in three words: Faithful – Innovative – Practical
The following core values root the Center for Ministry Development and its staff:
- We are grounded in and focused on communicating the Catholic tradition as a faith-filled organization.
- We, as good stewards, function as a sustainable organization.
- We, as a ministry of the Church, seek to address and prepare pastoral leaders for the diverse circumstances and issues that confront the People of God.
- We continually seek feedback from the field striving for increased levels of effectiveness.
- We respond to the pastoral needs of ministry leaders through innovation and attention to best practices.
The Center for Ministry Development was founded in 1978 as the Northeast Center for Youth Ministry. The vision of a regional center for youth ministry training and programming grew out of national discussions about implementing A Vision of Youth Ministry (USCC 1976). In consultation with diocesan youth directors from dioceses in the northeast United States, the plan for the Center was developed. These diocesan directors served as an Advisory Board throughout the first ten years of the Center's life. With an invitation from Bishop Frank Rodimer of the Diocese of Paterson, the Center was launched in July 1978. Bishop Rodimer served as honorary Chairman of the Board through 1985. In 1985 the Center staff moved the Center to Connecticut, their original home. In 2009, the Center's office was moved from Naugatuck, Connecticut to Gig Harbor, Washington.
The Center originally focused on ministry with adolescents, providing the Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies program, adult training workshops, youth leadership and peer ministry training. This mission has evolved to embrace ministry with families (1987), ministry with young adults (1994), and lifelong, intergenerational faith formation (1997).
The Center's programs and services are designed to assist Church leaders to understand and implement the teachings and pastoral plans of the Catholic Church. Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry (USCCB 1997) provides the guiding vision for youth ministry services, and Sons and Daughters of the Light (USCCB 1996) provides the guiding vision for young adult ministry services. Family and intergenerational faith formation services are helping parishes develop lifelong faith formation according to the catechetical vision of the General Directory for Catechesis (1997). Catholic social teaching provides the central catechetical content in the Young Neighbors in Action and Just5Days service-learning program for adolescents.
The Center has built a reputation of excellence through its work with over 150 Catholic dioceses and organizations in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, Australia, and Belize. The Center provides its programs, services, and resources to parishes, dioceses, Catholic schools and universities, and national organizations. The Center has worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on youth ministry, young adult ministry, family ministry, and Catholic social teaching projects.
The Center is funded through a combination of fees for services, publication sales, and foundation grants. The Center regularly receives grants for its work with the Catholic Church across the United States and Canada. An anonymous family foundation funded the five-year Catholic Families Project (1987-1992). Center staff served as the project staff for the national Young Adult Ministry Initiative (1994-2000), which was funded by the Raskob Foundation with supporting grants from the Koch Foundation, an anonymous family foundation, and Louisville Institute. The Effective Practices for Dynamic Youth Ministry Project (2001-2004) was funded by the Louisville Institute, an anonymous family foundation, the Catholic Youth Foundation, USA, and the Raskob Foundation. The Center completed a six-year grant (2001-2006) from the Lilly Endowment for the Generations of Faith Project.