Grow Ministries has developed ‘Ten Guiding Principles’ to assist leaders and congregations of the LCA to renew their ministry to children, young people and their families – that is, to everyone!
The goal is to encourage congregations to create healthy intergenerational cultures which nurture faith for life. These principles help to move ministry and mission from programs to intentional intergenerational engagement. Leaders in households and congregations have a vital role to play in shaping this new culture.
In faith and in life we are constantly confronted with people who NEED OUR CARE.
Guiding principle no.6 is: During times of personal crisis, children, young people and their families are supported within an engaging Christian community. In faith and in life we are constantly confronted with people who need our care. Good people that bad things happen to. How can we support them? How can we show love to them?
Our guiding principle number 6 Personal Crisis Fact Sheet provides some helpful suggestions:
It can feel really awkward relating to people going through times of personal crisis. Often those who are hurting feel very lonely because people avoid them “not wanting to interfere or meddle”.
Can you imagine what happens when everyone takes this view? No-one engages the people in their pain! In his book, Raging with Compassion: Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil, John Swinton gives helpful and practical ways Christian community can support and help absorb the impact of a crisis affecting a young person and their family. Some of these include:
- Silence: Don’t feel like you have to fill the silence with talking and noise. Instead feel free to be silent if that is what is needed most.
- Room to express sadness, grief or anxiety: Remember you don’t need to have all the answers; often it helps a person simply to be heard and to have their needs prayed for.
- Ownership/belonging: Children, young people and their families will be supported and encouraged in difficult circumstances through authentic Christian hospitality and friendships.
At a recent workshop conducted by Grow, the question was asked, ‘How does your congregation respond to crisis? How would they react, for example, to a pregnant teenager?’ A workshop participant responded, ‘That was us, it was our daughter, we wouldn’t have survived without the support of our congregation’.
Jodi Brook is the national director of Grow Ministries.
The Grow Ministries Ten Guiding Principles are:
- Children, young people and their families are nurtured for life in Jesus Christ through vital engagement with God’s word and the rituals, traditions and practices of Christian faith.
- Faith is integrated into family identity and practice.
- Children and young people have multiple adult mentors of vital faith.
- Integrated pathways of faith formation tend the faith journeys of children, young people and their families through the various ages and phases of life.
- Children and young people are encouraged by spiritual relationships with Christian friends through quality age-specific ministry (eg Camping and peer relationships).
- During times of personal crisis, children, young people and their families are supported within an engaging Christian community.
- Children and young people are engaged in meaningful intergenerational church experiences in which they are valued.
- Children and young people are given opportunities to discover and express their gifts and talents, including being involved in leadership.
- Children and young people are encouraged to participate in acts of service in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Ministry practices and approaches have a strong missional focus and dimension, reaching out in Christ’s name to children, young people and families in the wider community.
For your copy of the Personal Crisis Fact Sheet or for more information about the Guiding Principles visit the Grow Ministries website.
This feature story comes from The Lutheran May 2016. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.