Why "Practice Discipleship"?
• The majority of young people have a “benignly positive” attitude toward religion – youth don’t get worked up about faith matters because faith simply doesn’t impact their daily lives. The authors have named this “religion” Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, a watered-down version of Christianity that is primarily about doing good and getting along with others.
• Parents are the most significant influence of faith in the lives of young people, but other adults play an important role. The problem: most adults also subscribe to the beliefs of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism, so the question becomes, what content are we delivering to the next generation?
• The majority of both youth and adults lack the ability to articulate their faith, and do not seem to know the basics of what Christianity teaches.
It sounds dire. But there is hope! Research also shows that there are effective ways to deepen faith formation in young people:
• A “culture” of youth ministry in a congregation, in which young people are integrated into every aspect of ministry.
• A congregation with strong pastoral leadership that emphasizes faith practices and supports youth ministry.
• Trained, equipped, supported and empowered adults in leadership roles.
• Trained, equipped, supported and empowered youth in leadership roles.
If we want our young people to have a faith that makes a difference in their daily lives, it is vital that we have trained and equipped faith-filled adults who can give them the tools (faith practices) to follow Jesus.
Practice Discipleship Initiative Purpose Statement
The Practice Discipleship Initiative fosters faithful, thoughtful and intentional leaders in congregations who follow Jesus in their daily lives.
The Practice Discipleship Initiative will:
Train leadership to accompany young people on their faith journey.
Develop partnerships to strengthen faith formation opportunities for and with young people.
Gather leaders for mutual support and encouragement in ministry.
"I no longer feel like a hypocrite, saying that I follow Jesus but not knowing how to live that out in my life."
- High school youth, after experiencing the faith practices on his synod's day of Practice Discipleship at the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering