How many concepts about the Christian life do you try to convey to your youth? How many of them stick? Maybe you can ask the same thing about yourself. How much of what you hear sticks? Go a little further and ask the reason why it sticks. Could it be because someone made it basic and real?
To this day I can remember the lesson on total commitment that someone gave during my high school years. The person used the fable of the chicken and pig. You can find it here if you want to explore it further. Suffice it to say that the pig’s contribution required everything—total commitment. That day the speaker made it basic and real.
Making it basic and real through stories
Relevant stories are a great way of conveying concepts. Jesus used it all the time. Even now, they help us to get his messages. If the scenario he relates is unfamiliar to us and we’re provided the context of that time, we get it.
How much do you want your youth to get it? To know that, look at how much effort you put into finding relevant illustrations from everyday life.
Making it basic and real through their lives
However, there is another way. I’ll never forget a discussion with a group of youth on reaching out with God’s love. Initially, they said that all was well with everyone in their school life. No one needed them to reach out with God’s love. So, we broke it down and started asking questions.
The question that got to the heart of the matter was whether or not there was anyone who sat by her or himself in the cafeteria. This went along with the question as to whether or not they felt the person wanted to be alone and why they gave the answer they did. We also encouraged them to put themselves in the other person’s position in answering the question. These questions moved reaching out with God’s love in love to neighbor from being an idea to something basic and real. Yes. There were people who were lonely and in need.
Making it basic and real through enacting
That’s not where the story with the youth ended. Later, they were asked to come up with a skit showing what it meant to reach out with God’s love. The youth chose from multiple scenarios and came up with a skit around reaching out to the lonely child at school. When young people have the opportunity to create and act out lessons using situations from their everyday life, lessons becomes concrete.
It’s important to make the Christian faith basic and real for young people. If they are going to be disciples of Jesus Christ, they must get it before they share it. That’s what we seek to do in youTheology.
You too need the Christian faith to be basic and real. As you learn about the context in which youth live and pay attention to your world, you will help young people to grasp the concepts and live more faithfully and you will do the same.
Living fully. Living faithfully. Following Christ.
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