Thursday, June 16, 2011

pressure to convert

Last summer I started reading Mike King's Presence-Centered Youth Ministry and never finished it. So today I decided that I would try and finish it. But in refreshing my memory on what Mike is writing about, I came across some interesting quotes on the topic of asking students to make faith decisions via the "sinner's prayer". He notes that this was, and still is, one of the prominent ways that someone "becomes a Christian." On this topic he says the following...

"...the decisions we make being a follower of Jesus are so different than the formulaic nature of the sinner's prayer. We cheapen what it means to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus, when we give kids the idea that praying a sinner's prayer settles things once and for all. We make thousands of decisions as we follow Christ." pg 36.

"Jesus would not have been considered a good youth pastor in most of our evangelical churches. [He] was obviously willing to give followers the time and space to understand....The rush to get kids to make a decision for Jesus takes away the important process of counting the cost of being his follower. pg 36.

"We must move away from premature and manipulated decision-making and instead create environments that allow for time and space, where youth are repeatedly ushered into the presence of God. We must allow transformation by the Holy Spirit instead of by gimmickry, tricks and manipulation." pg 37.

"Allowing youth to belong in our communities without pressuring them results in authentic decisions to follow Jesus." pg 37.

Interesting thoughts as we ponder what it means to make disciples of all ages in our culture today.