Read a great article this week about the importance of when to bring about change in your world. It seems New Years Resolutions, new weeks significant events matter. It might not work everytime but it does work. So what about how we think about ministry?
I don’t know about you but even after a months leave I am finding it really hard to drag myself from the quagmire of COVID. We all know that what we used to do is unreliable and needs to be ready to change on the flip of a coin. This is so exhausting and discouraging!!
What if you used this moment, before you get into the year to reflect on what are you really trying to do here? So often we keep running groups or programmes because it is what is expected. We don’t think about what are we really hoping to achieve by this and is this the best way?
So what are you trying to do with your Emerging Gen ministry? Is what you doing the best way to achieve this? Maybe you could start your planning for the year with some new questions. Here’s some ideas to start with.
Are you trying to help the Emerging Gen’s connect more deeply with God? What has been the most powerful way that you have experienced connecting with God? What does this teach you? How could this make a difference with the young people you are trying to help have an experience of the divine. Are there other ways you could support this? Could you send them a song that has meant something to you, a reading, a short video of yourself or someone else that you found online?
Are you trying to teach Emerging Gen’s about faith? What has been the most powerful way that you have learnt about faith? What are some crazy ways that you have seen people wanting to teach about faith online? Have you seen this?
Are you trying to help your younger people to connect into the Christian community? How many people know their name? How many people are intentional about building relationships with them? Do you know what they are interested in, are there other adults you could connect them in with similar interests? You’ve heard of the 5 to 1 ratio, which we normally talk about with adult to child care, Fuller suggests that actually you need 5 adults caring for each child, that might be more realistic about the ratio’s of your congregation why not see if you can make it work in growing and strengthening your Christian community.
Are you trying to help Emerging Gen’s share the faith they have? How can you support them to make it happen? Are you moving in their world? Are their ways they can share their faith in a medium that is really important to them? Have you seen this Minecraft story? Are there ways they could put their faith into action?
All of these are great questions to explore.. but wait there is more. Why not start the year with this conversation with your young people? Why not gather them together around food and ask them what each of these things mean to them and what God is calling them to this year, what are their spiritual goals? Would they like a faith support person or a mentor to journey with through Lent or the year. You might be working with children they too could talk about these questions.. It is never too early or too late to include your younger people in the conversation. Pray with them as well. Taking a risk with these conversations shows them how much they matter to you and to God and that you take their faith development seriously.
It is a new year, after a couple of tough ones, we are going into a time of Lent, all opportunities to start again. So as you prepare for what is ahead, it is ok if you are not sure what to do next. It’s ok if what you have been doing is working, but maybe it is time to try something new. We are in unknown times, why not take this chance to sit deeply with God and ask, how God do you want us to serve our Emerging Gen’s to grow closer to You? Take the pressure off, seek to do 1 or 2 little things, focus on the relationships because faith is all about love. God’s love for us and the call for us to love others, at the end of the day, that is what really matters.
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.