I am going early on this one, as its not quite the new year – but there has been so much talk on blog and journals recently about trying to discover a true type of discipleship for young people in the church that i thought it might be good to share a few suggestions for the coming year, that i hope are applicable to the resources you have in your church, the young people and enable discipleship that might be authentic, life and world transforming.
- Give young people the opportunity to shape the curriculum, from the week to week, to content and its delivery, where things happen and who is involved. See my previous post here http://wp.me/p2Az40-JK – which I talk about one way I managed to do this. If they dictate and decide, they also filter resources or develop their own..
- Shape ministry and mission activities around their natural gifts ; so if they are musical then this might be obvious, but if they are warm and hospitable create opportunities with them that play to this as a strength in the local community. Actually, not just in the church or its mission, but if they have specific groups use their gifts there too. – for more on developing gifts in young people – see the nurture development link below.
- Cause Faith to be dramatic for them! Let them find out and research the Scriptures – dont give them answers before they’ve even thought of questions! Find ways of them opting in to or being curious about the Bible so that they read it for themselves – it might not be daily reading notes – but tasks, challenges, games, competitions. Then give them opportunity to see how they fit into it all – not just that they need to apply it – but that they have a continuing part to play, something important. I find young people outside the church more excited about the Bible than those supposedly inside- this cannot be right…
- Give them opportunity to practice responsibility, and have an environment where they can be young adults of faith Let them create the right opportunities and structures that they would like to have, so if its house group type with coffee – rather than games night with coke – then this is a sign they want to probably ‘grow’ up… things need to adapt as they lead and create them. Let them move to the thing that suits them, regardless of age, if they are ready let them go or let them create the thing for themselves.
- Let Spiritual experiences be both broad and deep. There is no such thing as alternative spirituality, give them opportunities to connect with the natural world or sensory experiences, from stones to candles to walks, and yet at the same time revive liturgies, prayers and something old, thought provoking – like an early church father, saints or creed. Maybe even meditiation of a type. But experiences of God in worship neednt ‘just’ be charismatic and guitar led.
Theres just 5 early resolutions for youth discipleship as we head into 2017, you might want to add a few below in the comments below to share with other people. I have found that Nick Shepherds new book faith generation a good new resource, theres details of it here: http://wp.me/p2Az40-HN – but some of the links below might be helpful. In reality discipleship with young people is best done when we give them as much opportunities as possible to decide, to create and lead themselves.