thinking about conversion
i’m not much of a theologian, but after reading some of the articles and comments about the young life “non-negotiables” list it got me to thinking about the whole process of conversion. we are we talking about and trying to accomplish when we are dealing with conversion in youth ministry?
is how we incorporate conversion about the person starting the process of redemption and becoming a devoted follower of Christ or do we treat conversion as a safety net to just make sure that they are not bound for hell?
is conversion the point that the student realizes and believes that they have belonged to God all along and are just now accepting the fact that Christ died to pay for their sins?
do we really believe that if you “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” [acts 16:31] is sufficient? or do our practices add a little something extra or another hoop just to make sure?
would we ever teach the story of the thief on the cross as an example of salvation? is that what the story is about?
do we ever talk about repentance or community salvation instead of just an individualistic need to be personally “saved”? is there a sense of the corporate or communal in salvation? isn’t that what being the “people of God” is all about? what would that look like for a school, church, clique of friends, soccer team, etc?
so there are a few thoughts. i know in our youth ministry to predominantly “covenant” [read infant baptized] children we don’t think much about conversions and salvation. when we get to the point of holding a class before students make profession of faith, we talk about the time they knew or accepted Christ as their savior. many aren’t sure when and where but have always just known. is this ok? is it a reality of the power of God’s covenant working from their birth, or do we need to give them a time and a place for them to have accepted salvation from sin through Christ’s atonement?
hmm… if we are looking at rites of passage in the lives of youth to help them mature and grow in life and faith, should or could conversion or salvation be something we seek to help them achieve as a rite of passage? maybe even the ultimate rite of passage.
know i’ve got myself thinking. and right before bedtime. drat!