Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taking it to the Congregation

I've begun reading The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry: Leading Congregations Toward Exemplary Youth Ministry. It's written by Roland Martinson, Wes Black, and John Roberto and is an examination of how congregations are enabling faith maturity in youth. Here is a sentence caught my attention:
The Study of Exemplary Congregations in Youth Ministry discovered that it is the culture of the whole church that is most influential in nurturing youth of vital Christian faith (Martinson, et. al. 2010, 14, ).
Here, they are saying that congregational mores are most effective in the development of living faith in youth. Of course, this makes perfect sense, and yet we have had to be reminded of it because in some ways we have ignored it.

Recent research has made us painfully aware that youth ministry has been too isolated from the total life of the church. This may be convenient for some, or many, but it does not serve God, our youth, or the church.

We know that children learn the values and habits of families from living in them. The same is true for people who inhabit a new culture. While there is much that they could learn from books, television, and the internet, true acquisition occurs when they inhabit the new culture. The Spirit and Culture of Youth Ministry is reminding us that who the congregation is in its Christian expression and witness will go a long way in determining how our young people are or are not Christian.

What is the culture of your congregation?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor

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