If our youth group is homogeneous, how can we creatively help our students to come to a deeper understanding of themselves as Christians through engagements with others who are different? One way is partnering with a youth group that is dissimilar.
When I use the concept of partnership, I remember the prhase Magda Pollard in Guyana once used: "Equal partnership." She emphasized the word, "equal." We were talking about women and men in ministry and I guess after her years in women's affairs and as women's activist she understood that the words "partnership" and "partnering" could be little more than smokescreens for one group to meet its own agenda at the expense of another. By partnering with another group, therefore, I mean entering into an association of mutuality where the goals and content of the relationship are jointly negotiated.
Relating across discreet lines is important, especially when we think of ourselves as part of the church universal. How can this be real when even within our own geographical borders we limit our meaningful interactions to people just like ourselves? As Kathleen T. Talvaacchia says in Critical Minds and Discerning Hearts: A Spirituality of Multicultural Teaching, "We learn who we are in the process of learning about others" (Talavacchia 2003, 26). Here she is pointing out that discovering who we are involves finding out about other people. This means that our students need to engage with others to discover who they are as people of God in Jesus Christ. It is also a fuller way of being part of the body of Christ.
With whom can you partner to enable your students to more fully discover what it is to be a member of the body of Christ?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor