Writing became one of the most precious gifts to me at 8 years-old. To this day, it is my chosen mode of communicating.
Just this morning as I was taking my dogs for a walk, I was listening to a podcast in which the hosts were having a discussion about discipleship, specifically how we disciple our kids/students.
There were so many thought-provoking things that caused me to pause and later re-listen to the podcast as I took my own notes and pondered for a bit.
Some of what was shared affirmed what we as a NextGen team as Century believe is our mission: to resource and support parents as they lead and guide their child’s discipleship journey. As we’ve said before, parents are the #1 spiritual influence in the life of a child, whether ‘spirituality' is present or not. The church is also one of the greatest influences, which is why we partner with families to leverage our combined influence so that students grow to be disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus.
One thing that was reiterated over and over again in the podcast was this: a compelling faith in a parent and a richness of living in community with other disciples of Jesus are the greatest catalysts for launching our kids into the real world. Even if there is a season where our teenagers are pushing back on the truth of Scripture and the building blocks of their spiritual lives, if they have witnessed a compelling faith in their parents and see that faith lived out by other disciples of Jesus in community, those teenagers will still come back to a life that abides in Christ.
The question we have to ask ourselves as parents and influencers in the life of kids/teenagers (because research has shown that the influence of other adults who follow Jesus on a kid/teenager matters a lot!) is what does a compelling faith look like? What does living in community with other disciples of Jesus look like?
For us at Century, we’ve defined a ‘compelling faith’ as being a disciple of Jesus, someone who actively follows Jesus and loves people. That looks like finding our identity in Jesus alone, focusing on becoming more and more like Jesus every day, holding high and applying the Bible to our lives, worshipping God above everything else, giving spiritual gifts because we’ve been given spiritual gifts, knowing, applying, and speaking the gospel at all times, living in community with other disciples of Jesus, and being for our city and loving people wherever they are. Living in community with other disciples of Jesus means living out those 8 Characteristics (Identity, Imitation, Word, Worship, Gifts, Gospel, Community, City) with other people, joining together with the rest of the body of Christ, learning, and growing together.
It’s a gift to play an active role in the lives of our own kids/teenagers, but also to play a role in the lives of other kids/teenagers. The goal, the end-game is to make disciples of Jesus who will go and make disciples of Jesus. That process and goal is not a conveyor belt producing cookie-cutter humans that know what Scripture says and have knowledge of it, but don’t act upon it. The goal is making disciples who make disciples. It’s a privilege to be a part of the work of God in the lives of others, to be asked to join in and be on mission with Jesus, being empowered by the Holy Spirit to make disciples and make his name great.