Why do we prefer an original work of art over a copy, even when we can’t tell the difference? Out of context, objects and experiences can shift in value easily. Wine tastes better when it costs more. A concert takes our breath away if the performers are renowned. Experience tells us that we assign meaning through context.
In ministry, meaning comes through a variety of attributes. It might be a charismatic leader, a great discipleship experience, the call to a better life or any number of variables.
The church will remain only if its meaning is clear and deliberate. All of the best lights, sound and marketing can’t replace or supplant the meaning of the gospel and still remain the church. Yet, as churches drift from essentials of orthopraxy. They look more and more like concert halls, museums, hospitals and schools instead of believers gathered under the umbrella of grace.
Essentialism is based on the irreducible minimum that defines an object or experience. If you design these places of meeting, your limited list of attributes are what will not only guide you practices but attract others who share them. This is the way we assign meaning.
As I plan the next year, I am concentrating on that list:
1. Each student is a Masterpiece – Ephesians 2:10 names us as God’s workmanship or masterpiece. That means everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. But it also means the original is worth more than the copy. Discovering each individual’s created identity needs to be an ever present theme.
2. Each student has Special Needs – This refers to more than ADD and clinical diagnosis. All teens are unique and need specific challenges and encouragement. Revealing each persons abilities and needs has to be a priority in helping the succeed.
3. Each student needs a Plan – Because we are creations of action, we need to look towards what we do, not just who we are. Teens need to develop their own tools and methods for living out their faith. They need opportunities to practice them as often as possible.
What are your essentials? What meaning do young adults get from the experience you create?