First Third Conversations

On Maturity by Nancy Lee Gauche

What is maturity anyway?

Take a look again at the characteristics of a spiritually mature youth from the EYM study.

  • Demonstrates a Personal Spirituality
  • Believes God is present in the world
  • Acts out of a commitment of faith
  • Is active with God’s people
  • Possesses a Positive, Hopeful Spirit
  • Lives out a life of service
  • Lives a Christian moral life

I agree that just getting our heads around the notion that Youth Ministry is about maturing Christian young people is challenging.  It is challenging for two reasons:

First, it can mean all kinds of changes in the “how” and the “why” of what you are doing as someone connecting with young people.

But secondly, it means being mature yourself. Right. Maturity. Spiritual maturity. “But I don’t want to grow up,” I whine. 

One way I long to be mature is in my personal spirituality. Let’s just take one aspect at a time. How about prayer? I’ve always prayed for young people and continue to, but now I want to pray with young people and alongside them. Their prayers move me deeply.

She’s not a high school student, but a former student here at Luther Seminary shared this prayer on her blog and now I’m praying it along with her. Join us. Surrendering to God’s mercy is a great place to start. May we all find hope when nothing in the past points towards hope:

Gracious God, beckon us into your widening, foolish mercy, a mercy that finds its grounding in your cradle and cross.  A mercy so tender that it teaches us to hold our gladness lightly and to find hope in our grief when it stutters wildly. Amen.

~Prayer of the Day, Mercy Seat, 7/18/2010

Nancy Lee Gauche worked in Children, Youth & Family ministry for 25 years.  Today, she is program associate for the Center for Children Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in St Paul, Minn.

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