By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY — She had been a teacher and a principal in Catholic schools on the Kansas side for 20 years, had served as project manager and associate director for a company that created online catechetical lessons and textbooks for youths and adults, and then founded her own company: Transformed By Faith Solutions Group. TBFSG, as it is called, specializes in assessing, improving and strategic planning for Catholic cultures and spiritual leadership in parishes, schools, classrooms and at home. But Barbara Burgoon still felt something was missing.
“I have always felt called to more direct ministry in the church,” she said. “So when I saw Jon Schaffhausen’s ad for a youth ministry coordinator I was intrigued.” Schaffhausen is Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan director of the Youth Ministry.
Burgoon, 46, officially started work for the Youth Office on Aug. 8. She will spend one day each week coordinating training for parishes that are either starting or interested in starting youth ministry. By training parish staff and youth ministers, both in person and online, in catechesis and spiritual leadership formation, she hopes to form a team that will spur youth ministry growth around the diocese.
She brings her background in education and leadership training to her new job. Following graduation from KU with a degree in education, Burgoon taught at St. Agnes School in Roeland Park and Good Shepherd School in Shawnee for a total of 8 years, then was appointed principal of Good Shepherd. She later became the founding principal of St. James Academy in Lenexa. Both of her sons graduated from St. James Academy before enrolling at KU.
Burgoon holds a Master’s degree in leadership education from UMKC and is working, when she has time, toward a doctorate in educational leadership through the EdD program at KU. She hopes to write her dissertation on Catholic leaders and work toward developing a mentoring program for novice Catholic principals. “I hope and pray to someday assist new principals in their first two years.”
She “stepped away” from education when the opportunity to join My Catholic Faith Delivered arose. “It was a unique experience,” Burgoon recalled, “to step away from education, where I had spent the past 20 years, and get into the for profit business world.”
My Catholic Faith Delivered offers in-depth learning programs and video tutorials on the Internet for learners at all levels of knowledge of the faith. “They partner with organizations with solid Catholic content,” she said, “such as Ignatius Press and Ascension Press (Theology of the Body for adults and for teens) and create textbooks and lessons in an accessible online format.” She worked one-on-one with a number of dioceses, including Tulsa, Ft. Worth, Salina and Sacramento, to find ways to reach and train people in youth formation.
“It was great,” she said. “Here I was working for a company that brought together educating people in the faith and this cool new way to deliver it.”
Burgoon started TBFSG because she is “passionately committed to guide and form spiritual leadership in parish and school youth and community leaders.”
And now Youth Ministry Coordinator on the Missouri side.
“I love new things,” she admitted. She will work about 10 hours each week coordinating youth ministry programs both over the phone and in person. She is excited to help spread the vision of youth ministry in this diocese, helping with the state of its spiritual mission and working with youth ministry all through the diocese.
The icing on the cake? “My 98-year old grandmother, who is in St. Thomas More Parish, will be absolutely thrilled that I’m working on this side of the state line!”
Parishes and individuals interested in starting a youth ministry can contact Barbara Burgoon at (913) 302-4672 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also email Jon Schaffhausen, diocesan director of the Youth Office, at email@example.com .