This is one of the questions the CYYA committee is currently asking of us, its members, as a way of identifying how we enable our young people to also be formed in the Christian faith. Some of us have been immersed in Christian communities since we were born and others have come to faith through life experiences.
The question that is often associated with children’s ministry is how we keep young people in the church, but we don’t often ask how we nurture them in their faith? The assumptions we start with can have a big impact on what we do and why we do it. For example do we believe children have a spirituality of their own already, that God has already called them into relationship? Or is this something that they need to learn. I think children begin as spiritual beings loved by God and the task of the church is to help children and young people to find language and meaning for what they already know in their experience.
Church is a particular learning environment for children and young people. They are learning practices such as communion, prayer, singing, but they are also learning a way of life. This way of life is what we as adults and young adults are modelling in the way we act and how we respond. A rather onerous realization!
Are our lives changed by attending church? Are our lives Christ centred? How might we articulate that? If young people can’t see that our faith makes a difference, then why would they want to pursue it for themselves.
Over the next few months, we will endeavour to explore this a little more and look forward to you coming on the journey with us.
Cath James, Minister: CYYA