Just sent out the April mailing to churches which started something like this:
"This is a great season for us! (I'm not talking about chocolate here, although that is, I admit, good too). It is because it is at the centre of who were are; we are Easter people. It is the core of our hope for now, and our hope in the 'not yet'. It is the heart of the 'life to the full' in Christ that we live and share with young people.
How do young people 'get' this idea of being Easter people though? It is not through teaching (although this might play a part), it doesn't automatically happen just through being in Church or through being in the Youth group (though these help). Forgive the long words but as people, and especially young people, we are imitative and mimetic, that is to say it is in copying, imitating, trying and doing that we work things out, and take them on as our own.
How do the young people encounter the adults of the Church, see what (and why) it means to follow Jesus; then where can they be invited into the business of making a difference, living to a different set of values, sharing stories, encountering worship, silence and action (and crucially, beyond Church and Sunday)?
I think I'm reflecting here on the Cycle Club I belonged to as a teenager (with several friends), and what I gained from being welcomed into that group of adults. They loved that young people were part of the club. We saw a passion for cycling modeled, and we saw skill and experience in action. They would invite us out on rides, push us to sign up for challenges like the 'time trials,' and be happy to chat about any aspect of what it meant to ride further or faster. Importantly too we were not kept at the margins as a junior group confined to a junior room, we experienced being a full part of the life of the club.
Reflecting on the Cycling Club, what might church look and feel like, where apprenticing young people into the life and activity of Jesus's Easter people was the focus? Are they welcomed into a community where there is opportunity to mimic and imitate?
I reckon this is a whole lot more fun than the focus being constantly on what do we need to teach?"