“Can I do it?”
If you are a parent with children at any age, you’ve heard this question asked. Whether it is in reference to breaking an egg for the batch of cookies you’re making, filling out a class schedule for the next year’s classes, or going to the mall for a night out with friends, this question surfaces.
The need for personal attainment, achievement and involvement is there almost from the start. We watch our babies start taking those steps to individual growth quite literally and then, over the years, take on more and more of the tasks that we were once needed for.
“Can I do it?” is a question that is innate in all of us.
Most of us don’t like to be sidelined. We want in on the action. We want to give it a go or at least try it once. Sometimes life forces us to take on things and we must ask ourselves the question, “Can I do it?” but nonetheless, it’s a question we have all asked.
I was recently reminded of this while listening to an interview of a church planter whose church was reaching out specifically to younger Millennials in an unchurched, dechurched part of the globe. He said despite what we typically hear about Millennials, he has found them to be “highly interested” in religion and deeply desirous of being involved in church. They are asking the question, “Can I do it?” not just in terms of belief but also in terms in action and involvement.
Can I be the one who carries the cross, both figuratively and literally?
Can I be the one who serves the poor, feeds the hungry, teaches the kids, takes care of the church, leads the prayer, reads the Scriptures, coordinates the service, leads the worship, takes up the offering, creates the bulletin, preaches the Word, and the list goes on and on?
Can I do it?
I was curious why he felt like this was the trend he was experiencing in those their church was onboarding. And he answered the question: “When they were growing up, they never got to do these things.”
Like most children and youth in traditional Western Protestant churches, their experience of “Big Church” was separate and other. They didn’t see that corporate gathering or communal worship as something to be involved in but something attend. The answer to the question, “Can I do it?” was a resounding, “No!”
This church has chosen an apprenticeship model to begin helping change the answer to an even louder, “Yes!” In other words, they are helping these young Millennials attached to an older church member to teach them their “craft”; to show them the ropes on how to be actively involved in a local church. To bring them from a place of mere attendance and consumerism to a place of real community and active participation.
But, that leads to a new question; why would we wait until these young people are adults?
Why not begin these types of experiences now, while this generation of children and youth are still young?
Why not change the answer to “Yes!” now so that they don’t even have to ask the question in the future because they know beyond a doubt that they are wanted, needed, and welcomed as active, thriving and participating members of their local church?
This isn’t a program (although I’m sure those exist and the framework could be helpful). This is a change in how we approach discipleship within the walls of the church. It’s more than just helping our kids and youth know stories from the Bible and good morals and values. That’s important but if that is not combined with active and growing relationships with all generations in their faith community, these things will lack the depth needed for long-term faith.
Call it mentorship.
Call it apprenticeship.
Call it discipleship.
But whatever we call it, let us make sure that when we hear the question, “Can I do it?”, we are ready to help our youngest members experience a hands-on faith in a congregation that embraces them and cries out with great enthusiasm, “YES!”
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About the Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and ChurchLeaders.com