Are We Really Discipling Students?
by Randy Davis
Kendra Creasy Dean in her book Almost Christian writes, "American young people are, theoretically, fine with religious faith -- but it does not concern them very much, and it is not durable enough to survive long after they graduate from high school." (p. 3)
I have been wondering why students are not growing a sustainable life transforming faith? Here are some of my ideas:
- We talk so much about the creativity of God who makes us all so different, but we run every student through the same formula of spiritual growth. We create a formula through our programs to attempt to create disciples. We send students to retreats, challenge them to read a chapter a day in the Word, pray ten minutes a day, give 10%, and serve on ministry teams we have created. What about the students who hate sleeping in a tent, are visual learners, have no income, and have God given talents that don't fit our teams?
- Think about this: Jesus challenged Peter to lead, John to care for others and allowed Thomas to ask questions.
- We realize the chaos of life for our students, but our student ministries work to create disciples that live a linear, systematic, mistake free life that has all the answers. Maybe this is how we have tried to live our own lives so we pass this on to our students. Students seem to believe that receiving God's gift of salvation is hard and living for and with Him is easy. God's gift of salvation comes from grace, a free gift. Living for and with Him is where the battle begins.
- Think about this: growth happens in the middle of the battle. We don't need to give them all the answers and fix it for them. We need to allow them to wrestle with their struggles.
- We are seeing a limit to our time, our budgets, our number of volunteers, and pressures from church leaders to present good kids to the body, so we work to mass-produce as many as we can. We are busy, we continue to see budgets cut, and we always need more volunteers. We have to work smarter, but we cannot simply rely on the "TGIF" (Twitter, Google, IPhone, Facebook from Len Sweet) relationships.
- Think about this: it has been said, "More is Caught than Taught," but how can our students catch it if we are never around them?
Those are a few of my thoughts. What are yours?