When I was a kid I had this image in my head of Jesus and these guys in their 40s and 50s going around doing all the amazing things we read about in the Gospels. As it turns out some of Jesus’ disciples were pretty young. John, who was in Jesus’ “inner circle” was probably in his early 20s when he was following Jesus. That means Jesus has a lot to teach us about how to disciple our young adults and grow their faith so that they can continue to be a meaningful and vibrant part of the congregation and eventually become leaders themselves.
There are a couple of reasons this is personally important to me. First, I care about them. I am one myself (kinda sorta…a few gray hairs are starting to appear) and I want to see them grow. I also care about equipping them to be leaders because they are going to be the elders when my kids are in their young adult years and they are going to need some solid leaders to help them mature in their faith. Third, we have to remain relevant to the coming generations and not just cater to the generation that is typically that of the leadership. The best way to stay relevant is to continue to watch and learn from Jesus and transform our lives and ministries around what we see in Him. How did he deal with people? How did he disciple his younger followers? And how does all of that give us a better vision of how to grow our young people today? God has blessed his church with energetic and willing young people. They want a deep and profound relationship with God. They also want to make a lasting impact on the world and want to see the church engaged in things that are accomplishing that.
Over the next few posts I want to examine the way Jesus interacted with his younger disciples in order to help grow their faith. I especially want to look at how he worked through the times they messed things up and turned those opportunities into learning situations. I want to focus on that because it is in the moments of “failure” that we can either make them or break them when it comes to their faith. Jesus knew how to “make them” and we should as well.