Young lives

One of the things I am really enjoying here at Shoreline Covenant is the opportunity to be involved with pastoring our youth. There has never been a season in my adult life that I have not, in some capacity, served young people, and while the youth ministries of our church here are not one of my areas of focus here in terms of job description, I am involved in working with all of the other adults who serve our youth in seeking together how we can serve our young people and walk alongside them in their discipleship journey.

This morning I came across a discussion at Scot McKnight’s blog that I will definitely follow that explores what kinds of shifts have taken place culturally for youth, and how the church is or is not responding.

The post suggests that maybe 25% of youth who participate in a church’s youth ministries will grow into mature disciples of Jesus. Do you think that is accurate? Why do you think that is true?

One commenter writes:

The fact that there is a “their” culture is largely “our” doing. Who worships youth? Adults. Who makes the shows, the songs, the technology, etc. forming/facilitating “their” culture? Adults. Who made even ‘big’ church into something that ‘entertains then entertains some more?’ Adults. Who made following Jesus into something you can supposedly do while remaining loyal to consumerism? Adults. Youth groups are just amped up versions of big church, trying to ‘reach’ a more media sophisticated, less religious, more energetic group.

Grace also has a post up this morning that speaks to these questions on a much broader level in defining what discipleship or Christian formation really is. She offers a series of quotations form an article by Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. These are well-worth the read. I will offer some of Willard’s thoughts as a concluding word here:

Spiritual formation is the process of establishing the character of Christ in the person. That’s all it is…Forget about perfection. We’re just talking about learning to do the things that Jesus is favorable toward and doing it out of a heart that has been changed into His.”


  1. Maybe when we cut out the crap, we’ll be able to focus on what being a Christian is really about.

    It’s tough. Trying to figure that out myself. How to live a less secular life.

  2. Young people are far more likely to stick around if they’re inspired as opposed to entertained.

    Actually that’s true of every age.

  3. Erika–James Wilhoit has a really useful book that deals with some of these issues out. It’s called _Spiritual Formation As if the Church Really Mattered_. At times it misses the “postmodern” edge and at other times it’s a bit simplistic. But it takes a birds eye view of spiritual formation in the 21st century church, including what that means for young people.

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