Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Discipleship

Statement: Effective Youth and Family Ministry is adults and young people walking alongside each other in relationship as both grow and mature in faith in Christ.

Biblical Basis: “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity”   - Hebrews 6:1

Rationale: Maturity in Christ is a journey, not a destination. The real- ity is, the entire life process from birth to death is a process of matura- tion. There is never a point when we suddenly are "complete." There is never a point when our relationship with Jesus Christ has become one of full maturity. We only achieve this point when through death in this life, by the grace of God, we are reunited with God in a new life. There, we experience this maturity.

So what happens in the space between? How do God's people grow towards maturity in Christ as they live their life journey?

This is a faith experience we call discipleship.

As Lutherans, we tend to shy away from this word. It has echoes of "works righteousness" that scare us away. To be a disciple is to take action within our faith, and anything that causes us to take action might be confused by some as action required for the grace of God. We know, however, that discipleship is not so much about what we "do" as Christians, but who we "are" as Christians. Living out our baptismal promises, we become followers of the living God and at the same time, leaders in the world around us. We receive God's grace and share God's love.

In Jewish tradition, rabbis took disciples who followed the rabbi, learned from the rabbi, and modeled their lives and ministry after the rabbi. In Christian practice, Jesus Christ is our rabbi, and as Christians, we try to follow, learn from, and model ourselves after Him.

Effective youth and family ministry then, is the tending of these faith journeys, on behalf of and alongside the lives and faith of young people and their families. We do not take disciples, nor do we create them. We walk alongside the called, and build relationships with, teach, and tend those who are on the discipleship journey. We do this by encouraging and teaching the disciplines of prayer, service, worship, scripture, and faith talk and traditions.

Effective youth and family ministry addresses both the young person as an individual and the young per- son in the context of their family. It recognizes that their family, whatever that looks like, is the primary incubator for faith. It works to equip parents be the primary faith role models, and provides opportunities for families to “practice faith” together.

Discipleship is less though about what we do and more about what God is doing in the lives of people. It is about naming God's grace and work in the lives of young people. It is occasionally about "nudging" young people and families in their lives and faith. It is by continuing and encouraging the process of dis- cipleship and faith formation that God's transformative grace can become understood in the lives of

God's people.

Faith Lutheran Church - 155 Boyson Road, Marion, IA 52302 - 319.377.9700