To all youth group parents,
As an update for what direction we’re headed in the youth Sabbath school class, I want to start by saying I am thrilled to go back to the basics with the yutes!
This Year's Mission
In conversations y’all and I have shared since this group graduated to youth SS, we found a shared interest in making sure our young people don’t leave the nest without a more deliberate walkthrough of our beliefs. And, we did not want to leave it to chance that others who work with our youth will or won’t actually do that.
Also, our church’s ministry emphasis this year is to reinforce scripture’s authority, which rings true, powerful, and relevant in the 21st century to the same extent it did when originally inspired. Whether this alignment is coincidence or providence, I'll take it!
Where We've Gone So Far
Earlier this year when I first explored a fundamental belief with this group, it was apparent that the boys could use a reintroduction/refresher on the Bible itself before we moved forward with other studies. (And the first fundamental belief is, after all, the Holy Scripture.) Realizing that, instead of charging ahead with the fundamental beliefs, we took a step back to learn more about the Bible itself. This ranged from playing silly memory songs for the OT and NT books of the Bible, studying reasons we can trust the Bible (e.g., prophecy, archaeology, history), the anatomy of the Bible, etc.
I hope that taking a step back like that not only underscored the Bible as the God-breathed basis of our beliefs, but also refreshed our youth in the practical access of scripture (i.e., where we find the different books of the Bible, how are they organized, etc.).
Where To Next?
From here, I want to talk about the materials that we'll use moving forward in our study of Adventist beliefs:
The Holy Bible
First off, I would like for each youth to have a hardcopy Bible with a few key features, and to have that Bible on hand for Sabbath school. The purpose of these features is to help the particular copy your child holds last into early adulthood (and perhaps beyond):
- In a translation that is comfortable to read or to have it read to them - I've talked with some parents and heard feedback of interest in KJV; for practical readability, I would suggest a more modern but still reliable translation (NKJV? NIV? NASB?).
- Not a child-oriented translation/design that the user will inevitably outgrow.
- Durable cover - not expecting kevlar :) but perhaps leather or hardcover rather than paper
- Other special features like concordance or maps in the back are unnecessary for current purposes, but up to y'all.
The Bibles in the church contain the same truth as a new copy would! However, most of those have cheaper paper covers and/or have been handled for several years as church school classroom copies. For purposes of our study, it will be helpful for youth to have a copy they can call their own, mark as needed, and grow acquainted with.
If your child does not already have a Bible that fits the above description, please let me know! I plan to secure some from the ABC on the youth budget, and I'd like to grab a copy that suits your child's (and not-too-distant-future-young-adult's) needs. Please let me know noon, Thursday, March 24, of the need and preferred translation, and I'll pick one up for next Sabbath.
ChristWise Discipleship Guide
By Troy Fitzgerald, the ChristWise Discipleship Guide is a "story-based, Christ-centered, interactive, and age-tailored" guide on Adventist Christian beliefs. (I believe I've heard that it is the same series used at Cohutta Springs' Discipleship summer camp.) In reviewing this material, I'm pleased with its thoughtful, approachable engagement on the fundamental beliefs, introduction of each belief using a story from Christ's ministry, and emphasis on letting the learner discover the truth for themselves.
In some points, ChristWise dovetails multiple fundamental beliefs into one study, so it has 21 lessons whereas there are 28 fundamental beliefs. Also, for some beliefs I may supplement with other activities and materials. Between those factors and the fact that it's not a quarterly, we can expect that this won't be our typical one-lesson-per-week experience.
In practical terms--
I've handed a copy of ChristWise to each of our youth. Those are for study at home in the week, and helpful to bring to Sabbath school, too, to follow along with our group study time. I plan to keep extra copies in the classroom for guests, and in case someone wants to follow along but left their copy at home. Since this study won't necessarily be one-lesson-per-week, I will do my best to add blog updates to fill you in on what we're studying, when.
And I promise those blog updates won't be as long as this one :)