By Tom Schwolert
Influenced by relational faith circles
“To encircle young people with authentic, available, and affirming adults who support them in their faith and life journey.”
The traditional model of youth ministry asserts that if we build a youth group that is big and active, we will profoundly influence the faith of young people. The reality is that most faith-nurture happens outside the church walls in everyday life through the people that encircle and are intentional about sharing their lives and their faith with young people.
Have everyone find a partner. Assert that our faith is shaped by the people that have come alongside us in our lives. God chooses people to pass on the legacy of faith. Our faith is influenced by people in various relational circles in our lives.
Go through each of these six circles of relationships (questions below) and have people talk about the people who have influenced their faith and what are some of the qualities that they exemplify. If time allows, share your own stories that come from each circle.
As you share stories that illustrate each circle, ask people to feed back to the larger group what some of the qualities of those people are.
- It is in these relational circles throughout life when we share time and place with others, mostly outside the church walls, that our faith is nurtured. When we share our lives with others, we share Christ. Therefore, faith is passed on through daily ongoing relationships rather than events or activities.
Who has shaped and influenced your faith in these relational circles?
- As a peer when you were a youth or child?
- Among those you call family, either immediate or extended?
- Within your parish or congregation?
- By how they live as part of your community?
- Outside your own familiar ethnic, cultural, economic, and/or geographic surroundings?
- By experiencing, appreciating, and/or honoring creation with you?
Tom Schwolert is Director of Youth & Family Ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Flower Mound, TX and can be contacted at email@example.com. More information about the Full Circle Training Curriculum can be found at www.everyday-everywhere.org.
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