Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Growing Christ Centred Youth - 4

The search for answers to "Growing Christ Centred Youth", question 2 has proven a bit of a stumbling block.

2) How do we get youth that are churched or do profess a commitment to Christ to look beyond their own (perception of their own) needs?

I'm going to throw out some possibilities of my own but I have to be honest - I really don't have an easy answer to this question.

One of the biggest problems we face as a culture is the predominance of high impact, highly stimulating entertainment. Our modern youth have grown up with Play Stations, big screen TV and rampant consumerism. They may be "Gen Y" but they are also "Gen I" - they are used to getting what they want, when they want it.

The teenage years are a time of self-centredness as young people struggle to form a sense of self identity and of their place in the wide-world, however culture seems to be amplifying this normal developmental stage and creating monsters along the way.

Outside the church I face the end results of this undirected amplification process on a daily basis. Kids destroying their lives with drugs and alcohol. These kids have a completely unrealistic perception of life - they think they can leave school at 14, smoke pot daily, and still end up with a $60,000-a-year job. They seem genuinely surprised when employers or work-experience providers don't want them back because they have only attended 2 days of work out of a whole week.

As is so often the case - the problems facing culture are often replicated within the church. We really don't do a great job of being "in the world but not of it". I think parenting has a part to play in the solution in general - but I won't go down that line now.

It is my opinion that the only possible solution to the difficulty of engaging young people in a way of life that puts the needs of others first is, again, relationship. It is through regular interaction with adults who genuinely care about them and can model a Christ centred, servant-life, that young people will, eventually, begin to reflect the same attitudes in their lives.

So the answer to question 2, looks something like this:

We can encourage young people to look beyond their own needs by loving them, modeling a Christ-centred life of service to others, by teaching them about Jesus Christ and his way of living and by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in them as they mature, as humans, and as followers of Jesus.

Now I don't think this is going to be easy, and it may be that the fruit will take a while to become evident, but I can't think of a better way of doing it!

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