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Creed, Community, Calling, and Hope

By Robert Payne

I love our church’s vision statement – experience the life changing love of Jesus Christ here and take it there – there being where I work. I recently wondered if there was an opportunity to turn that around – in other words, what can I take from work and apply to our life togetherat church? How many of us have financial or organizational or human resource skills that we could offer to our congregations? I thought of something from my work with students that I could share with our congregations. Just like the parents at my school, I know there isnothing in this world that is more important to parents of this church than the spiritual nurture of their children. We all desire that our children grow up to love and serve Christ and contribute to His church. Unfortunately, the statistics are not encouraging.A recent article on the Barna website states that “…nearly three out of every five young Christians (59%) disconnect either permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.” That’s an alarming statistic –but instead of focusing on the 59% who leave, Kenda Dean, in her book Almost Christian, cites research on the 41% who stay. It turns out that there are four things that the 41% have in common: creed, community, calling, and hope.

Kids who stick with their faith know what they believe – they have a creed that they can rely on during times of testing. Reformed churches have a rich tradition of systematically articulating faith, and our inclusion of these creeds in our worship is valuable.

They know the value of community, having been raised to see the body of Christ working together. Church is a place of inclusion and a place of belonging in a fractured world.

They understand that their lives are not their own; they are called to something larger than themselves. Ephesians 2:10 says that God has work prepared for them. Can we help our children see that their schoolwork is much more than grubbing for grades – it is actually preparation for the Kingdom work God has for them.

Finally, those who stayed reported hopefulness – a sense that God is in control and that even though things get bleak, they’re sticking with it.

A creed to believe in, a community to belong to, a calling to live for and a hope to hang on to - that’s what I try to offer the students I work with, and I’m glad to share it with you.

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