by Scott Gronholz, Director of Youth and Families
Last month I wrote a Briefs article that explained why adopting youth into the Body of Christ (the Church) is the goal of our youth ministry and should be the goal and calling of our whole church and I’ve been having some exciting interactions with people about it.. The article was intended to simply get us talking about this important topic as a community. I think that it did that, but there seemed to be a lot more energy and motivation around actually get started on this project.
The first Sunday after the last edition of the Bethany Briefs was published a woman walked by me in the sanctuary and enthusiastically declared, “I’m in!” I just had time to ask, “What do you mean?” As she was walking away she turned around and said, “The adoption thing. I’m in”! That was a fun and encouraging interaction for me and I realized I should probably articulate a few practical ideas about how adoption looks in a church.
Just a reminder. Theologically, adoption basically means that we collectively have a deep conviction and understanding that, as the Church, we are a family. As a family we are aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings literally united by Christ’s blood (potentially even more important than biological blood!).
What I ultimately want these articles to do is get us talking about creative ways to live out this reality. The possibilities are endless!
Over the next few months I will have a section in the Briefs where I offer one big idea about how to practically adopt our youth into our family. Having said that, here is the first idea.
Invite, invite, invite! Consider inviting a teenager to something that you participate in at church. Choir? Women’s Bible Study? Quilting? Prayer? Worship Ensemble? Folding Bulletins? Ramp room project? Ushering? ANYTHING.
The main point here is that adults invite and initiate. You don’t wait for a teenager or their parent to approach you. You approach. You initiate. Not only will teens at Bethany benefit from participating in activities with other adults who aren’t their youth leaders and parents, they will also develop a relationship with you.
The only major caveat I would add to this is to make sure you do this in conjunction with parents and youth leaders. Talk to them and make sure they are on board with your idea and that you have their permission to invite their teen to whatever it is you’re doing.
I want to affirm that many of our teenagers are participating in programs and activities outside of youth ministry already. What I’m hoping is that this would begin to happen even more frequently and at the initiation of adults in our church.
That’s all for now. Check back next month for another idea on ways to adopt kids into our church family. In the meantime- discuss amongst yourselves.