The reality is that our youth today are growing up in a largely post-Christian culture, making the task of instilling faith in teenagers all the more difficult for parents, catechists, and youth ministers.
A vast majority of Catholic youth are disconnecting from the Church during their teenage years. Something clearly isn’t working.
At NET Ministries, we’re passionate about challenging young Catholics to love Christ and embrace the life of the Church.
That’s why, working alongside youth ministers, parishes, and schools, we help young people encounter the person of Christ through evangelization and discipleship.
Our ministry is carried out by retreat teams, discipleship teams, and YDisciple.
NET was started in 1981 in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, by its founder and president, Mark Berchem. Mark pioneered a team of 12 young adults to travel in a van around southern Minnesota, conducting high school retreats. Moving from town to town, parish to parish, this experimental team conducted 18 retreats in a three-week period during January 1980. The response was extremely positive. Additional requests came from Fargo, North Dakota, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The following January, three teams were sent to serve in Winona MN, Fargo ND, and Sioux Falls, SD. In September 1981, the first year-long team was sent out, adding Wisconsin, Louisiana, and several other dioceses in Minnesota to the itinerary.
In 1982, the name “NET,” or National Evangelization Teams, was officially adopted. It was inspired by the scriptures: “Come after me, I will make you fishers of men,” Mark 1:17, and “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch,” Luke 5:4.
Since then, NET Ministries has expanded how it carries out its mission from just Retreat Teams to adding Discipleship Teams and acquiring YDisciple.
NET Ministries has been replicated in Canada, Australia, Scotland, Uganda, and Ireland.
NET Ministries is under the ecclesiastical vigilance of the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. NET is a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Minnesota funded through individual donations, program fees and grants and is governed by a national board of directors.