Welcome to The Pastors’ Post, an update for life at Southern Cross. Tonight there is a training night with North Coast Christian Convention tonight 7pm at LHS, looking at ‘moving conversations forward with Youth’, helping youth leaders, parents, and members of a youth’s Gospel Community to help youth grow as followers of Jesus by engaging in conversations with them.
The presenter is Ben Staunton, this year the speaker at Youth Convention. Ben grew up in regional NSW, gave his life to Christ as a teenager and has served at New College at UNSW in Pastoral care. This training will be an important night because it can seem at times an ‘impossible task’ to engage a youth in conversation. Therefore, adolescence can be a lonely time, they are eager to have conversation and yet some of the key relationships step away as they pick up ‘the vibe’ from the teen they don’t want to be engaged in conversation.
Paul Tripp in this helpful book, The Age of Opportunity, provides suggestions particularly for parents to think creatively about how to engage their youth in conversation. And yet we do know youth thrive on conversation with friends and that’s why we maintain a ministry to youth while championing intergenerational ministry at Southern Cross.
Our ministry to youth at Southern Cross Presbyterian Church aims to retain a pointy missional edge leveraging off youth’s peer base relationships and yet there are some conversations or perhaps lots of conversations that a peer’s counsel is not very wise!
This is where our Gospel Communities can play a role. For those attuned to the youth in your Gospel Community a ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you going?’ can be a pathway to a BiGGer conversation if we ask good questions and take an active role in the life of our youth.
A couple of years ago we had a talented teenager in our Gospel Community who was developing as a sportsman. I chatted to the family and read from 1 Timothy 4 verse 8…
For physical training is of some value,
but godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
…and suggested to the parents and the teen we could read Luke’s gospel and run together one morning a week. Our reading plan wasn’t overly successful and then one morning one of our children was awake way too early. So I thought I would take them in the pram and run along with this teenager. It was a ‘disaster’. The pram rattled, I was slow and I couldn’t help but think I was embarrassing this poor young guy. As we said farewell at the end of the jog, I went off and around the corner the wheel came off the pram and I thought, “That’s it, I quit. I’ll call later today and say to him and the family. “Look don’t worry about the jogging””.
Little did I know that my wife, Susan, was out at coffee with his mum later that day with some different ladies from our Gospel Community and also some community mums and she said her son had come home and said ‘I want to be a Dad like Stew’. Wow! Power in weakness. I just about broke down in tears then and there. When we are weak, God is strong!
You might think you have nothing to contribute in a conversation with youth, but my advice to you is to come along tonight, and then engage youth in conversation, ask them questions, show you are interested. Remember significant things that interest them, celebrate milestones with them and remember when we are weak, God is strong.
Have a listen to the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 12:
9 But he said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake,
I delight in weaknesses,
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Thanks for tuning into The Pastors’ Post.