How are congregations helping form the faith of their young people?
In the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA), and other denominations, the faith journey usually begins with parents bringing their children for infant baptism. Children can then attend a variety of children’s ministry programs, and in adolescence move into confirmation and youth ministry. But what happens to our young people once confirmation has been completed or they finish high school?
Many of us are trying to find the answer to why so many young people see this as the end, the graduation out of congregational life.
In 2014/15 Grow Ministries conducted research specific to confirmation within the LCA. Online surveys were created and targeted three specific groups:
- pastors and instructors of confirmation programs,
- parents of young people who had completed confirmation,
- young people who had been confirmed in the previous 10 years.
The recommendations from our research were as follows:
- Further investment in the development of best practice and materials is required.
- A new or updated confirmation curriculum for use in the LCA, written by Australians, for Australian young people.
- Intergenerational ministry and support should be included.
- Parents should be encouraged and equipped to share faith in the home.
- Church culture needs to change – letting go of traditions and methods that do not connect with a new generation and reimagining them with and for our young people.
The team at Grow Ministries has taken these recommendations seriously and the result is Grow Disciples. It puts all the research into practice. You will find information on how to effectively connect with young people that includes three key considerations:
- a long-range mindset – encouraging a faith that will be supported into the future by families and congregations,
- being relational – prioritising relationships, appropriate teaching methods and experiential learning opportunities, and
- creating a compelling session that is relevant, interactive and engaging.
It is our desire that Grow Disciples will assist congregations in providing a clear and engaging pathway for the faith formation journey of young people which includes families and congregations.
As you read through the chapters, we also hope that you will see that this book can also be used as a discipleship equipping tool for any age and stage of the faith journey.
Grow Disciples is unswervingly focussed on helping our young people truly find a home in the body of Christ. Its suggestions are not beyond reach and offer considerable potential to equip the congregation for a genuinely caring and sustainable intergenerational approach. It asks searching questions, gives a plethora of tools and can be scaled and tailored easily to almost any congregational setting. Pastor
As someone who came to faith as a young person from a non-church attending family, I value the relational approach that is reflected in Grow Disciples. While my youthful connection to God was real, it was nourished by relationships with my peers and key older mentors. Grow Disciples uses contemporary research to build a helpful model that is practical, interactive, relational and rooted in everyday life. Parent
Grow Disciples is an exciting and important shift in our focus on ministry with children and youth. Grow Ministries has studied the best contemporary research, combined it with experience in local ministry settings and brought them together. The renewed emphasis on lifelong intergenerational discipleship will serve us well in nurturing community and personal faith in meaningful, practical, and Christ-centered ways. Rev John Henderson, former Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Australia
But wait there's more...
Grow Disciples isn't just about the book - there is also another addition to the Grow Disciples suite. Find out more in the video below.