I’ve been struck recently with the holistic biblical emphasis on unity among God’s people. The reason this strikes me is that I see the tendency, both individual, personal, and corporate, to divide.
These things are always on the forefront of a youth minister’s mind. How do I help these young people, the ones entrusted to the care of our church, fully integrate into the body life of the church. Is not our goal to see growth beyond adolescence into mature Christian adulthood? It often seems that our answers to these questions smack of arbitrary preference while paralyzed by the blatantly extra-biblical precedent of broad evangelical youth ministry. We are constantly in danger of creating a church within a church, void of parents, filled only with young people awaiting an orphans fate when the clock rings graduation.
I love the idea of contextualization, as long as that particular method of integration is grounded on the absolute unity of an unchanging context. That is, we must be together, as one, in our affirmation of the triune God, before we can branch out in segregation and subculture with ‘relavant’ versions of the message. Sadly, I feel as though I’ve often enabled young people to not love the whole intergenerational body, the church. Is this not just another form of favoritism. It would be an absurd suggestion to propose special classes for those of variant socio-economic status or race, and yet does not thier specific life situation deserve a hearing from context?
Point being: diversity in chruch, in the outworking of the gospel in the local body, is a direct reflection of the creative difference found in God’s manifest revealtion. However, we must be careful to not over emphasize difference in light of the constant command for unity, wholeness, and ‘one another-ing.’ God’s character is one and many, one essential God head in three persons. It is therefore our duty to prayerfully find a biblical balance between this one and many in rearing our youth to fear the Lord.
Any thoughts on this one? I’d be interested to see what people have to say…