I was in my second year as a paid youth and young adults minister when it happened. As I look back, it was a major turning point – a total collision with a reality that said, ‘Everything you are doing in youth ministry is fatally flawed’
OK, that might sound a little melodramatic, so lets just clear a few things up. There was no blood. There were no actual fatalities. But it was a major experience of disorientation that forced me back to reconsider some of my most basic principles and foundations for how I minister to and accompany young people on their spiritual journey.
So, “What happened?” you ask. Well, it goes like this…
Continue reading When Faith Grows Up: Part 3) Pizza Faith
Have you ever seen a kids Bible board-book? The kind where the pages are really thick and (supposedly) dribble-proof. They often have these cutesy images of meek-and-mild bible scenes (usually complete with bunny rabbits) in glossy primary colours. And because you can only fit a few pages into a board-book before it becomes a door stop, these “Bibles” are forced to summarise all of Scripture into about 10 stories, each edited down to a few short sentences, wrapped up in a neat moral application.
There are now quite a few of these wonders of modern publishing lying around our house. Gifted by well-meaning relatives or friends, they have been leafed through, read and referred to (as well as gnawed and chewed) many times. I am grateful for the thoughtfulness that has gone into stylising Scripture so that parents can sit on the couch with their kids in their lap reading and rehearsing the stories which have shaped our faith.
Yet there also lies a danger in these distilled and glossy versions of often rugged and perplexing narratives. If reading and rehearsing doesn’t at some stage transition to grappling, wrestling and tussling we may wind up with kids wondering if they have been lied to, instead of being gifted with a rich inheritance.
Continue reading When Faith Grows Up: Part 2) You Lied!