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What is The Relationship Project?
- The Relationship Project is a multi-media youth ministry curriculum for teenagers that engages the youth around the challenges they are facing in their everyday lives.
- This curriculum is designed to be flexible in order to be used in various youth ministry settings such as: Sunday School, youth meetings, retreats, or even as the base curriculum of a camping program.
- The Relationship Project facilitates personal reflection and deep relationships between the teens and their leaders and peers.
- The Relationship Project seeks to create a space in the Church where teens experience Christ’s unconditional love and feel a deep sense of belonging, ultimately resulting in a generation of teens who continue to turn towards the Church throughout their lives.
To read more about the purpose and objectives of The Relationship Project Click Here
What am I getting when I purchase an Episode of The Relationship Project?
The Relationship Project is sold by the Episode, each addressing a different topic that builds off of the prior Episode.
Each Episode contains:
- Four 1-hr lessons comprising of
- A 5-11 minute state of the art video designed specifically for teens articulating the content in an engaging and understandable format
- Group discussion questions designed to guide teens in unpacking the content and engaging in personal reflection
- Supporting activities to reinforce the content
- Additional written materials for the facilitator
- Included in the purchase of Episode 1 is a detailed facilitator’s manual which offers extensive training on how to run the program
By purchasing an Episiode of The Relationship Project you also gain access to the Faithtree Resources Support Team. Faithtree offers personal and ongoing support in seeing you through the implementation of this program in your specific parish context.
To date, we have released Episode 1: Identity and Episode 2: Intimacy. To read lesson summaries for each of these Episodes, click here.
More Episodes are in the works! We are actively raising money to continue the production of more critical topics - by the end of this year we hope to release Episode 3) Loneliness and Anxiety and then in the following year Episodes 4) Physical Desire and Attractions, 5) Marriage, and 6) Dating.
If you would like to contribute to this project to help us bring these episodes to completion quicker click here.
Who is The Relationship Project for?
Any parish priest, youth director, parish volunteer, or parent. Regardless of your theological background, this curriculum is designed to enable you to communicate the richness of our faith to your teens. Faithtree has done the hard work of lesson planning. We have dug deep into the theological research, have translated our rich theology into an engaging and understandable presentation, have made connection to the real-life application, vetted it through a team of theologians, therapists, and seasoned youth workers, and have packaged the material for any youth leader to easily utilize, almost like a recipe. Additionally, we have staff to help with the needs of our churches that purchase this product. In doing this, we essentially give you a direct connection to a youth worker, with a degree in ministry and a Masters of Divinity, who will hold your hand through your implementation of the program.
Priests and youth leaders, get this for your youth program!
Sunday School Directors and Teachers, buy this for your high school Sunday School class!
Parents, gift this to your parish to be utilized in your children's youth programs!
Can I trust the content?
In order to create the best possible content, we have facilitated tremendous collaboration between theologians, therapists and youth directors. The entirety of this content has been vetted through teams of premier Orthodox Theologians and trusted Orthodox therapists. The format, videos, discussion questions, and supporting activities have been vetted by the some of our most experienced youth workers. Together we have taken the high-level theological research and language on these topics and have created interactive curriculum in the language of our teens and in a format that is highly effective.
Why is it so important?
The Relationship Project was developed in response to a three-fold crisis in our church; one: our young people are facing increasingly challenging questions and situations in their lives, two: for a variety of reasons, it is becoming more difficult for the clergy and lay leaders of our parishes to engage teens on the difficult questions they bring to the church, and three: the Church as a whole is seeing a steep decline in the attendance of teens.
The disconnect between what society allows and encourages and what the Church teaches as truth is becoming more and more prominent in our post-modern world, particularly in light of the rapidly changing cultural norms around marriage and gender. At a time when we would like to see our young people turning towards the Church for answers, we see more and more teens disappearing from the Church. They appear disengaged and it can be difficult to keep them involved. Their schedules are overloaded with academics and extracurricular activities and often, Church is the first thing to lose priority.
Our teenagers are on the front lines, challenged by what society encourages as they face conflicting ideas and ideologies from peers, their schools, their families and the media. Our church leaders are, typically, unsupported and ill-equipped to respond to the variety of messages their teens receive on a daily basis. Particularly difficult to navigate are those issues related to personhood, identity, anxiety, depression, desires, attractions, intimacy, sex, gender, and marriage. Youth workers find themselves largely unsupported and ill-equipped to teach on these difficult and quickly changing issues. Even the most seasoned youth worker, let alone our faithful volunteers who do not possess a theological background, can be unsure of how to respond and how to articulate the fullness of the Church’s response to such issues.
Our young people must be engaged in real conversations, and provided with real, theologically sound answers to the questions they are facing. They need relationships with faithful leaders who care about their wellbeing and can walk with them as they navigate this life. We must inspire our youth to choose the life-giving path and guide them to understand the truth about how to thrive and succeed as Orthodox Christians in the world.
As we have beta tested this material in many different youth ministry settings, we have been amazed to watch teenagers open up, ask profound questions, and find true peace in the truth, develop real relationships with peers and leaders, and grow deeply connected to the Church. It is amazing how when we simply open up a space to teenagers where they can come as they are and bring all of their questions and struggles, they are open to learning and want to keep coming back. Teens are yearning for truth and faith. When we embrace them, listen to them, love them, laugh with them, encourage them, and then teach them in this context, they feel a part of Christ’s Church and are open to receiving it.
It is within this context that our teens will desire to learn about and grow close to Christ and His Church and will prepare to go out into the world grounded in truth and love.
Above all, it is the aim of youth ministry to establish and strengthen the connection between our teens and Christ. We think we have found a pretty cool formula in which to do that.
At the end of the day, it is all about relationships. It is in and through relationships that we grow closer to our Lord and Creator. It is in and through relationships that we learn who we are and who we were created to be. And it is in and through relationships with teens that we can effectively teach them.
What are people saying about the Relationship Project?
This is a coordinated pan-Orthodox teaching. Essential Apologetics of our time. A positive message in support of living an Orthodox Christian life is found in Faithtree Resources. - The Very Reverend Dr. Chad Hatfield, President, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary
Faithtree Resources, looking to meet the needs of our faithful, has produced content that gives such insight. Relationships-with peers, family, church community and others—are the context for identity formation. Thank you Faithtree, for this valuable and high-quality program. - Carole Buleza, M.A., Director of the Antiochian Orthodox Department of Christian Education
It is fantastic to see the Church take on the tough issues in our world today. We know the answer is Christ, but this program gets through in a way that brings our kids closer to Christ and the Church and arms them with reasons they can understand. This series is a Don’t-Miss for both adults and their kids. As parents, we need the tools to help our kids forge through as strong Christians. This program not only gives both of us the tools, it does it in such an effective way that there is real buy in. - Cindy Karos
You lit a fire in me and have ignited energy that was dormant. Thank you. -Fr. Gary Kyriacou
Prior to the Relationship Project, our High School Sunday School class was limping along…now we have lots of kids, and LOTS of lively discussion. I can honestly say that has NEVER been the report from this class. Thank you Faithtree. - Alexis Pappas
This video series has helped me enormously. Our youth ministry team is actively implementing your strategies and suggestions for engaging our teens. Thank you Faithtree Resources! - Robin El Habr
The real work of youth ministry takes place in the context of relationships. It is through deep and real relationships that our teens experience the transformative love of Christ. Ask any youth worker and they’ll tell you, it can be hard to get through to our teens to build meaningful relationships. That’s why we’ve created a collection of tips to better equip you!