What is ‘Theology on Tap’?

When we hear “Theology on Tap,” immediately, we think of a group of young adults drinking beer and listening to a spiritual teaching in a bar or restaurant. But what is Theology on Tap? Keep reading for a summary of the comprehensive RENEW Theology on Tap (TOT) program offered by Renew International that we are implementing here in the Diocese of Camden.

TOT is an outreach to and collaboration with young adult Catholics in pursuit of spiritual growth. It is a method of invitation, based on a spirit of hospitality, which creates a space for people, ages 18 through 39, to explore how faith in Christ can speak to their circumstances. This program has proven to be a successful vehicle for reaching young adults interested in learning more about their faith, in coming together to share community, and in feeling welcomed and valued in the Catholic Church.

TOT is often used as a stand-alone series of events, in which young adults come together in a casual setting to hear a speaker, to discuss, and to share in community; however, TOT works best as a component in a more comprehensive young adult ministry. TOT is meant to be an invitation for young adults to learn more about their faith and to share in the Catholic community, and it should serve as a springboard for other young adult initiatives in the parish, diocese, campus, or other group. TOT at its best is a piece in a broader, comprehensive young adult ministry that includes small faith-sharing communities, and opportunities for retreats, service projects, social events, and other activities that will draw Catholics in their late teens, 20s, and 30s together.

There are four essential components necessary for a successful TOT program: building a strong core community, invitation, hospitality, and follow-up. Creating a strong core community will lay the foundation for solid and sustainable TOT events while promoting community between the young adults. Invitation strategies will allow the group to successfully invite a wide range of young adults to events and activities. Hospitality not only allows for an enjoyable TOT event, but also provides the key link to further involvement and engagement by the young adults in the community. Follow-up means providing concrete strategies for involving young adults more fully in the Church through small communities, retreats, service work, and other opportunities. These components help create the successful, initial TOT program, which will help lay the groundwork for creating a more sustainable and comprehensive young adult ministry.

A group of young adult leaders around the Diocese of Camden have been meeting since last April as a core community for TOT. We have developed fellowship, have grown in leadership, have prayed together, and have planned for the TOT speakers’ sessions. We are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring TOT to a diocesan level and work together in this beautiful process of evangelization with young adults. We hope to see all of you and the young adults from your communities in the TOT speakers’ sessions that are coming soon.

May the Holy Spirit empower us everyday with his love.

Andres Arango is director of Young Adult Ministries, Diocese of Camden.

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