Over the past few months I have been pondering what Family Based Youth Ministry is and is it something to pursue in our student ministry. Book after book that I have read, blogs I have visited, and conversations that have occurred have demonstrated a cool "convergence" of themes. Here are some of the highlights......
"But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Luke 18:16 (NIV)
"Do you as members of the church of Jesus Christ promise to guide and nurture these children by word and deed, with love and prayer encouraging them to know and follow Christ and to be faithful members of Christ’s church?" Baptismal question of the congregation of EPPC
"Family based youth ministry is accessing and incorporating the incomparable power of the nuclear family and connecting students to an extended family of Christian adults to the end that those students grow toward maturity in Christ." Family Based Youth Ministry – Mark DeVries (pg 176)
“No matter how earnest our desire is to pray and be present to youth, our ministries will be short-lived if they aren’t grounded in relationships with other Christians. It takes a greenhouse to nurture the souls of young people – a greenhouse formed by adults who want to know God. A young person’s faith is best tended by a variety of relationships within a Christian community. Yet sadly, youth ministry is one of the most isolated ministries in the church. If we seek to form a contemplative youth ministry, the participation of the wider church community is essential.” Contemplative Youth Ministry - Mark Yaconelli, pg 141
"Don't forget anything of what you've seen. Don't let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you've seen and heard to your children and grandchildren." Deut 4:9 (Msg)
"But young people, like young birds, require wise adults who can show them the way and teach them the practices Jesus uses to draw their passions into his. Without memories of those who have traveled before them, the migratory route is lost, and young people journey aimlessly, mired in self-fulfilling passions that obscure the steadfastness, ecstasy, and intimacy of God.” Practicing Passion, Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church - Kenda Creasy Dean, pg. 175
“If we take the yearnings of young people seriously, then we can admit to ourselves that youth aren’t interested in our answers (often given in response to questions they’re not asking). They’re not looking for safe activities. What they’re seeking is the companionship of adults who embody a different way of being……who can guide them toward a different way of being, of living in the world. They are looking for adults who know how to live lives of love.” Contemplative Youth Ministry - Mark Yaconelli, pg 68
“What became clearer as I grew older was not the strength of my commitment to the church, but the strength and identity I had received because of the church’s commitment to me. I stayed in the church not because of my resolve and commitment, but because adults in the church continued to claim me even when I was an embarrassment to them.” FBYM – Mark DeVries (pg 166)
"Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got! Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates." Duet 6:5-9 (Msg)
“Young people are not looking for adults who have more poetic or more reasoned beliefs than they have. They’re looking for adults who have experienced something, who trust something larger than themselves.” Contemplative Youth Ministry - Mark Yaconelli, pg 92
“Because the adult guarantor plays such a critical role in fostering a Christian identity, it is easy to assign the task of “being there” to a few “designated hitters” in the congregation, an assignment doomed to disappoint everyone involved……The mandate to “be there” for young people belongs to the Christian community, not to any individual or group of individuals.” Practicing Passion, Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church - Kenda Creasy Dean, pg. 91
I guess now all that is left is figuring out how God wants us to join him in this pursuit of His children! I'll just keep reading, experimenting, failing, succeeding, and trusting.....