According to one historian making habits or “reflexive bodily behaviors” was one of the most effective ways the early church grew both in number and in their devotion to the Lord. By habit he was referring to the way you can drive home from work without even thinking about where to make the right turns, or maybe the way you head straight to the coffee machine or pick up your smartphone after waking up. For some of us developing the habits of going to church on Sunday morning, praying, singing, serving, and reading our bibles are habits we had to learn later in life. Developing these habits was harder to start cold turkey.
“Christian faith is ‘the practice of many practices’- not because faith is works but precisely because such practices and disciplines are ‘habitations of the spirit.” James K.A. Smith
The Christian Education Committee as well as Pastor Jon and Myself have been working through a book entitled
You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit.
In the Book, James K. A. Smith devotes one section to a perspective on youth ministry and lays out three simple convictions and practices:
one of the best decisions we can make for the formation of our children is to enfold them in a congregation that is committed to historic Christian worship and multigenerational gathering.
formative youth ministry will invite young people into a wider repertoire of Christian disciplines as rhythms of the Spirit…introducing young people to ancient disciplines of prayer, attention, discernment, fasting, and worship is like giving them rafts to make their way into the river of grace…If sanctification is “putting on” Christ, then effective youth ministry invites young people into practices that are ways of “trying on” Jesus.
formative youth ministry eschews entertainment for service…the unarticulated focus on entertainment only serves to reinforce a wider cultural focus on self that is cultivated by social media…In contrast, service to others can have a kind of leveling effect.
We strongly believe that a formative youth ministry will be a ministry by youth rather than just a ministry for youth. Ultimately, the goal is to be a reflection of the way God himself ministered to us first.
Keep an eye out for SERVICE SPOTLIGHTS- ways you as families and the students under your care can serve our church and local community.
In line with exposing our students to the “rhythms of the spirit” for the next two weeks in the High School Sunday School Class, the hard questions are going to be: “Why do you do what you do on Sunday Mornings?” Why do you baptize with water? And why do celebrate the Lord’s Supper?