Moved Mountains

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

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Discipleship without the Bible - Pt 2

Two and a half years ago something remarkable happened to me. I would even call it miraculous.

It was, without a doubt, the end result of several years of prayer, but to this day I cannot understand why it happened, except to say it was definitely a "God thing". I want to make this really clear. It had nothing to do with me or Lyss, other than, I guess, we were prepared to act when the time came.

The miracle is something I have talked about a few times on this blog. Mostly in trying to find some answers to the many questions I have as someone who has well and truly been thrown in the deep end of something big and amazing and really, really scary.

The miracle was/is a youth group.

3 teenage boys turning up on a Friday night with the specific intent of finding out something about God - whoever (as I am sure they were thinking) "he" was going to turn out to be.

By the end of our first 6 months the group of three had grown into 5. A few left, a few more came and for a good 12 months we settled on 4 regulars turning up each week. None of these kids had a Christian background (although a teenager from a Christian home who had been attending a youth group in another town did start attending after a while) and so our Friday nights were their only experience with God stuff and with Christians.

Now our group has a regular gathering of 7 or 8 on a Wednesday night (we changed the night early last year. I no longer worry about the fact they don't come along on Sunday mornings - sometimes I am actually glad they don't. We often refer to Wednesday nights as our new Sunday morning. We also have our first teenage girl coming along - a new challenge for us.

Bible reading though isn't our strength - hence the title for this post. I have tried setting reading homework, but it rarely gets completed. We have tried doing book studies, but these have flopped and one guys stopped coming because, in his opinion, youth group was too much like school!

I have used the Visual Bibles Gospel of John as an alternative to the Bible, this worked to some degree in engaging them with the Gospel story. Another good resource, particularly in terms of generating discussion, has been the Vancouver Youth for Christ's DVD series Quest. I have just started using this again as we have a number of new attenders who didn't see it the first time round 2 years ago.

But I have found it really difficult to find many resources out there designed for situations like ours. Most assume a group comprised of kids from Christian families and so the suggestions and approaches just don't seem to fit guys like ours. The language and the illustrations are specific to cultural, evangelical Christianity, which makes it really difficult for these post-Christian, non-reading kids to relate to.

As a result - and with the exception of a couple of the resources I mentioned above - we have had to come up with pretty much all our own material and approaches, specifically tailored for post-Christian youth to connect with. And this has been an incredibly difficult process, centred mostly around discussion, story telling and hanging out.

1 comment:

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