There are those who think of Christian youth group primarily as providing moral development and/or constructive outlet and/or preparing young people to be successful. To me, this way of thinking is sad and misses the essence of who we are as the people of God. These may be by products, but surely those of us who name the name of Christ have more to offer than any other civic organization. We have a message unlike any other. There are various ways of putting this, but in Christ we can be brought back together in a harmonious relationship with the God of the universe. This is good news. We can know Christ and we can know God. This goes beyond morality and success. This is about the deepest part of us and addresses our brokenness and alienation. Yet, at the same time, it shifts the focus from us, from the youth and places it on God in Christ Jesus.
The importance of bearing witness to restoration to God in Christ is one of the reasons I found a sentence in OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, ed Kenda Creasy Dean refreshing. It comes in the midst of a discussion on the challenges of post-modern culture and the post-Christendom era for the church and how youth ministry fits. As the church's story and the "truths" of post-modernity are discussed, we get this statement: "The church's story is not a modern, objective one; it is an intimate, subjective one---a love story that calls, invites, and involves us. The point is not to know the story; the point is to know Christ, intimately and relationally, through his story, and in so doing, come to know ourselves" (Dean 2010, 2008).
This statement reminds me of our Inter-School/Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship theme in Guyana: "To know Christ and to Make Him Known."
How are you making Christ known in your youth/student ministry? How are you sharing the story in a way that invites your students to enter into intimate relationship with Christ?
Loving God, Loving Neighbor