Community again…

One of the things that has been really great to see over the time I’ve been involved in this area’s youth ministry is the sense of community amongst our young people. In many ways the Salvation Army has lots of opportunities for community to be developed. We have events and a formalised structure that means that people feel they belong to a bigger organism than simply the local church. In this region the young people have a youth brass band as well as regional events in which they can meet each other.

It’s fascinating to see that many young people who survive their teens and young adulthood in the church do so not necessarily because of great teaching or ultra-relevant worship, but because of relationships they’ve formed at their churches – both with peer groups and inter-generationally. I’m convinced this is something we really have to work on – the fruits of which will see more young people connected to each other, supporting/holding each other accountable etc.

My vision is seeing our guys connecting beyond simply the surface level. I long to see people in Cornwall and Bristol see each other as much brothers and sisters in Christ as if they lived in the same street and went to the same church. And I believe this is happening…at least we saw this happen at SWSCA.

So I guess this links into my thoughts on authenticity…that we can be ultra-relevant, but if we’re missing authenticity in relationship then we’re completely missing the point of church. Jesus called people to be with him in relationship, not simply to dip in and out when they felt like it. That’s a good enough excuse for me to want to focus on relationship…

So South-Western youth – how are you creating opportunities for you to connect with others – both in our church and currently outside…especially the ‘lost’? I remember growing up in an Army where I was out every single night of the week with church activities and I could count the number of deep friendships on one finger…I guess this is why now I’m as passionate about playing football with friends here in Exeter, going out for meals and chilling in Coffee Shops as I am about going to church on a Sunday. Don’t get me wrong…church community is vital, but sometimes we lock ourselves away and make ‘outsiders’ break into our little circle rather than us being ‘out there’…and you know what…when we think that way it becomes inevitable that the church will decline to death…

Just some thoughts…

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One thought on “Community again…

  1. Glad SWSCA went well. You’ve been in our thoughts and prayers. Geographically, the SW division is so difficult to get any real sense of community between youngsters. Maybe blogging is a way forward for them? Or is it just for sad geeks like us?? Anyway, keep at it and we’ll keep praying for you and Kay.

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