Editor’s Note: Ann Carter is working with the Youth Discipleship Blueprint Implementation Team. One of the challenges is knowing how to start. How do you draw up a blueprint for Youth Discipleship? Ann’s answer follows:
One of the best things about serving on a 2020 Vision Implementation Team is the opportunity to build relationships with people you may otherwise have never known outside of a smile in the hallway or a wave across the sanctuary. As the teams form, we are taking the time to get to know each other, to learn our stories, to understand the commonalities that draw us together in service and to value the experience and perspective each team member brings to the table.
The Youth Discipleship Blueprint Implementation Team has been tasked with defining foundational building blocks for faith development from grade 6 through college and is loosely collaborating with the Children’s Discipleship Blueprint Team doing the same for birth through 5th grade. This is not a search for the best curriculum or most fun activities or meaningful programs; we want to spark a faith formation movement that transforms the lives of children and youth so that their lives are being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others.
Since we do not have to program or plan curriculum, our job is not so much task oriented as it is a discernment process. Ruth Haley Barton defines discernment as “the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God, both in the ordinary moments and larger decisions of our lives.” How do we learn to do that? I think part of it is the discipline of learning to recognize God at work around us…developing spiritual eyesight, so to speak. And as we are serving on a team together, we need to sharpen our spiritual eyesight in community with each other so we can discern God’s will together!
So as a team, we aim to gather around the presence of Christ – both individually through personal prayers and corporately in our bi-weekly meetings. Not only has each member of the team committed to pray daily for our process of discernment and for each other, we pray continually throughout our meetings. As we strive to listen in community for the direction God is leading, we pass a palm sized wooden cross around to each member of the group. The person holding the cross silently prays for our efforts, passing the cross to the next person to continue the prayer.
With our meetings bathed in prayer, the Youth Discipleship Implementation Team is feeling a lot less like a committee working down a check list and more like a community of faith working together to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. I can get excited about that!
–Ann Carter, Youth One Associate