I have a vivid memory of singing “God made the sea and God made me” in our Methodist worship when I was in first grade. There were many aspects of that experience that are memorable, but the words in my head have remained connected to that melody since I learned it. Years later, and miles away from that Methodist church, I remember what I sang. Together, words and music are powerful. We remember what we … Read More
When my oldest son, Clayton, was four months old, he contracted his first cold. The pediatrician said it wasn’t cause for alarm, to monitor him closely, and to bring him back if anything got worse. I spent the whole day worried. I trusted our doctor, but I was a fearful new mom, and my precious baby wasn’t well. That evening, my anxiety got the best of me, and I began to conjure up all kinds … Read More
“An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1 (NRSV) Over the past few years, the summer Montreat Youth Conferences have inspired me in a multitude of ways. Escaping to the mountains of North Carolina provides an environment to help young people grow closer to God, to their church family, to meet new friends, and to reconnect with old friends. Every year, as I hear … Read More
Many churches have a practice of giving a Bible to a child or to a family. The most common occasion is the beginning of the school year when a child is entering second or third grade. This recognizes their growing ability to read and comprehend stories. Then often a second Bible is given to a teenager at either the beginning or completion of confirmation. Less common is the giving of a Bible storybook appropriate for very young children, which some congregations give at birth/adoption or at baptism or dedication. Sometimes these important practices need some reconsideration and updating. Here are some suggestions to consider as you review the tradition of your congregation.
Adolescence, at least US/North American adolescence, can be seen as a seven-year span of age (12–18 years) or grades (6th–12th grades). Over these seven years, numerous adolescent status changes occur: puberty, educational structure, licensing, sexual attraction, dating, working, future forecasting (post high school plans, such as college, vo-tech, travel), and voting.
As youth ministry has taken the great step to shrink the distance between the young person and their faith formation (meaning faith isn’t just about a Sunday schedule), there is significant meaning and impact in connecting youth ministry to to the rites of adolescence or the Rites of Passage.
When I teach parents how to incorporate spiritual practice into their family routine, I stress this truth: Faith is learned when it’s woven seamlessly into the fabric of our everyday lives. The idea is that faith practices that have lasting impact are incorporated into daily life effortlessly. Of course, things that appear effortless in our lives are often things that we’ve nurtured through deliberate practice and patience. I’m committed to helping families develop meaningful faith … Read More
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