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Graduating from church? October 16, 2006

Posted by Cobus in David Bosch, Emerging Church.

Jammer as jy gereeld kom kyk en nooit iets nuuts sien nie. Ek kom nie gereeld by skryf uit nie, of vat partymaal baie lank om my gedagtes in woorde om te sit. Hierdie is weer een van daai, en het so gevoel wat heeltyd aan my krap dat hierdie nog nie klaar geskryf is nie, maar hier is ‘n paar gedagtes… 

Doug Fields was the first writer I’ve read who pointed out one of the crucial problems in youth ministry. According to him, as soon as young people graduated from high school, they graduated from the church. His attempt at a solution was HABITS. A “program” in which they attempted to get members of the high school ministry to adopt certain spiritual habits (reading the Bible, praying, tithing etc.) A recent article from Christianity Today said :“There are a lot of people who’ve had this nagging sense that we’re missing the mark somehow,” said Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties. “That kids seem happy and willing to attend, and engaged in our ministries, but five years from now, when they’re in college or post-college, they just really aren’t connecting with real faith, let alone church.”Ons possible solution reads :Youth leaders will also need to provide opportunities for service and “teaching about the traditions,” … “The more theology you get, and the more you understand about your tradition, the better chance you have of having a sustainable faith language you can pass on,”This is quite close to what they tried to do to me in DRC catechism, and I guess most mainline churches followed this route. But it is quite obvious that this way of doing see young people as sponges that need to be filled with the theological wisdom of the past. Not necessarily a bad thing.  David Bosch (Transforming Mission p16) traces the origin of theology back to New Testament writers who, quoting Martin Kähler, didn’t have “the leisure to research the evidence before they put pen to paper”. “Rather”, Kähler said, “they wrote in the context of an “emergency situation”, of a church which, because of its missionary encounter with the world, was forced to theologize.” I won’t claim to have the solution. But I have some thoughts, quite possibly this time literally my 2 cents worth. What we need is more than just “giving” young people theology. We need to help them to interact with there world in a theological way. In the past a Sunday school class that addressed “relevant” issues, usually became a ethical sermon on why Christians shouldn’t do certain stuff. If we can go beyond teaching young people creeds, and help them to become theologians, people who’s experience of this world forces them to think about God and the implication He has for there life in this world they are experiencing. They are people who are figuring out the implication of there faith in this world, not people who are simply taught the implication of there faith in this world. I have a feeling that there is still something missing. Maybe it’s the practical side of this, maybe I’m just missing some vital perspective. Or maybe I’m just altogether wrong. Whatever it may be, this is my 2 cents worth…


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