Given the overwhelmingly negative statistics concerning young adults and church involvement, I am willing to go out on a limb here and suggest that engaging teenagers in the life of your congregation is one of the more important things you can do in your student ministry. Stepping a little further out on the limb, let me also suggest that though the application of the Great Commission must be contextualized, the call to make disciples is equally as valid for the teenagers in your congregation as it is for the adults who inhabit your pews.
In this particular article, I want to focus your attention on the theme expressed in the title above; the church as a believing community learning to live in communion. As our Westminster Confession of Faith says in 26-1, “All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces.”
They call themselves the Samson Society. They started in Christ Community Church, Franklin TN, and their society is spreading to other PCA churches. It is a fellowship of Christian men who are serious about authenticity, community, humility and recovery – serious, but not grave.
A foundational principle in men’s ministry is recognizing that even though our men know Christ died for their sins, many, perhaps most, still feel too dirty and sinful to be loved by a holy God. No matter how good our programs are, how rich our Biblical insights may be, or how successful we are at helping men better connect, our men’s ministry will fall flat if our men’s guilt and failure make them doubt God’s love for them.
When the Presbyterian Church in America was established, Christian Education and Publications was one of the first three program committees put into place. Christian education is a God ordained covenantal process and the denomination established CEP to lead, nurture, and instruct its people. From the May/June 1998 Equip for Ministry magazine.
Since the founding of the PCA, the Women in the Church have played a vital role in supporting the ministries of the various committees and agencies. Each year, a Love Gift presentation has been prepared and made available from the Christian Education and Publications office highlighting the particular project for the year’s designated offering. Contributions are sent to CEP’s Love Gift Fund during the year and presented to the receiving agency or committee at the annual WIC Leadership Conference dinner.
As the PCA grows, so do the opportunities for women in the church! The annual equipping event Christian Education and Publications provides for women in the church is the Leadership Training Conference. It is thrilling to see the great interest and diversity of age and regions that mark the attendees. The focus of Leadership 2008 was “The Big Picture: Our Purpose and Privilege,” with women from twenty-six states and two Canadian provinces in attendance.
How young people relate to older people and how the older relates to the younger is a good thermostat on the health and strength of a nation. It has been said by many that a lack of respect for the elderly is a sign of a nation in upheaval…
A lot of press has been given to a recent Pew Research study showing that 44% of American adults “have left the faith of their childhood.” But that’s not really the whole story. 16% out of that 44% simply left one Protestant denomination for another, meaning only 28% of adults have left the faith of their childhood. Add to that that some of those 28% left atheism or other religions for Christianity, and the picture looks even brighter. So perhaps the best way to say it is, “72% of all American adults have stayed in the faith they were brought up in, including those who changed denominations within the Protestant Church.” Now it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
What does this have to do with the church today? There is a big emphasis currently on “intergenerational worship,” but what does that mean? What place do children have in worship, other than feeling like ignored spectators? Communion can be one of those important times when a child can be made to feel a part of the service while being taught what it is all about.