Listening and Engaging in Faith Nurturing Moments

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I was in a Starbucks recently enjoying their dark roast Christmas blend. It was a Thursday morning.

Only one small table was available for me to use and do some work while drinking in the caffeine-filled coffee (which tasted very good by the way). As I took in the festive tastes and the musical atmosphere, more and more people came in and were looking for a place to settle in themselves. I watched as a group of young men wandered about, ordering their drinks and then looking for a place to sit and have a deep discussion, I could only presume.

A few short moments later, the ladies behind me got up and offered their space to the young men. They gratefully accepted and began to chat.

I tried to go about my business but a few phrases from their conversation rung in ears that made me think, “Ah, these are ministry people.”

A few of the phrases I heard were:

  • …they don’t know youth culture
  • …how do we do student camp ministry better
  • …we need to attract numbers
  • …the speaker needs to know…

I considered staying and joining the conversation but thought better of it. As I drove home, it got me thinking about faith formation and intergenerational intersecting points of ministry.

Not sure if this happened, but I wondered if these guys were engaging and listening to the students they hoped to impact.

Questions swirled in my head, such as: 

  • Are students actively part of the planning and developing of these events?

I then thought,

  • Or are we creating them to be consumers of our planning?
  • How can we expect our students to be discipled if we don’t walk with them in moments that impact them directly?

It could very well be that these men had done that (listened to and engaged the students). Good for them if they did. If they hadn’t, I wondered, why not?

As I continued to think about this, a verse that stuck me was this: 

Ephesians 4:11-13: “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare Gods people for works for service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity of the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

When we think about this text and our call to disciple our youth/teens/young adults, is it simply to teach them God’s ways? Or is to engage in the missional story of Jesus’ redemptive plan learning about who we are in that narrative?

Perhaps it is both.

What do you think?

What does it look like for us as parents, elders, pastors, teachers, and friends to be living out faith nurturing practices in our homes, schools and churches?

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