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Evangelization and Community for Young Catholic Professionals with Jennifer Baugh

In this podcast, we’re joined by Jennifer Baugh, the founder of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP). Parish ministries often overlook one crucial age range – people who have recently graduated college but haven’t yet fully established themselves in a career or marriage. For the Church to better evangelize and accompany this age range, we need to understand their unique needs. We discuss Gen Z and the various methods YCP uses to reach this age range, as well as practical ways parish leaders can learn from YCP.

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Show Notes

(00:00) Edmund introduces Jennifer Baugh and she shares her personal story of growing up Catholic but rediscovering her Catholic faith. She also shares the origins of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) and what prompted her to start this ministry. Edmund and Jennifer discuss this often overlooked demographic – that of people who have just graduated college but haven’t yet established themselves in a marriage or career and are searching for community and are open to hearing how someone could live out their faith in a secular and professional context. These individuals don’t always fit in a parish young adult or college ministry but also have a hard time finding community among the adult ministries in parish, as these are often filled with older married adults with children.

(10:49) Jennifer explains why YCP uses “networking events” to attract young Catholic professionals. She also speaks about the fruit they’ve seen from these events, and what parish leaders can learn from them. She offers a few examples of how a parish leader could practically implement these principles into their parish ministry. One challenge is finding balance between a purely social gathering and a direct and explicit evangelizing event. The key here is balance and intentional invitation into something deeper as a next step to the networking event.

(19:23) YCP offers one-on-one mentorship and has seen fruit from this model. Jennifer shares what YCP has learned from this mentorship program and what parish leaders can learn from this model. Jennifer also shares what she has seen as the unique challenges Gen Z is facing in general and in relation to the faith.

(24:48) Jennifer shares how the catechism had a huge impact on her faith journey. She discusses the need to not just present intellectual knowledge when we present the faith, but the need, especially with younger generations, to present a personal invitation to a new way of living with Jesus that is compelling. YCP has found that using the stories of lives of Saints helps give a concrete practical example of this life in Christ to people who are struggling to fully embrace the Catholic Church. She also explains the importance of volunteers and hospitality to help people build relationships, not just gain knowledge.

(31:38) We close this episode with Jennifer sharing that parish leaders can visit youngcatholicprofessionals.org to find out more about the ministry. She also shares about the national conference and ways that parishes can help host events for their local young Catholic professionals in collaboration with YCP.

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