I've been drawn to studying the early church community as of late. We've recently launched into a new vision and philosophy of youth ministry that is much more relational focused, and less corporate larger group gathering oriented. There are always snags when launching a new vision and philosophy during the implementation process, but using a basic framework from Acts 2:42-47 has helped us paint a picture for families, youth and leaders regarding our direction. What I'm learning is that the process of casting vision is never finished. We must constantly communicate the vision, the direction and the philosophy so that we may recruit many more champions to this emerging cause.
I guess it's like the ultimate marketing strategy. Whenever you want to gain momentum, you draw in other's to your cause. Working with this emerging generation of young people, I am learning more and more that they are indeed a cause generation. If you can communicate the vision in such a way as to engage their strength and their heart, you will have recruited many more champions to the cause.
Another thing that I am observing on an increasing capacity from this generation is the longing for a genuine, realistic community of friends & mentors. When you combine this longing with their God-given gift for causes...well let's just say that there is a great opportunity for growth.
There are four basic elements to community that seem to be rooted deep within this generation, and they are not unlike the four basic elements found in the early church community.
Early Church EC's Contemporary Cousin
Devotion to the Apostles' Teaching Creative Learning Experiences
Breaking bread Together Snacks & Food
Fellowship Hanging out (Just Chillin'!!)
The bottom line is that youth want to not only be taught, but be shaped by radical life changing experiences and communities. If our ministry to youth is not steeped in the four basic elements, I don't believe we are being fair or honest with them. Let's get creative in how we implement this age-old strategy into our contemporary world, but let us not lose sight of the fact that these four basic elements are the true strategy for any and all discipleship that the church should be engaged it.