3. Meet

CORe churches provide meeting 'spaces' for young people.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)


Additional Bible texts:

Acts 2:45-47 (Daily fellowship)

Acts 15:1-21 (Discussion)

Hebrews 10:24-25 (Encouragement)

Church is community, but community does not happen by itself. Churches naturally create many meeting spaces for their members. Members meet each other at worship services, potlucks, prayer meetings, and more, but how many of these are specifically geared towards youth? Young people have a potentially greater need for community than older members, and need specific meeting spaces for themselves.

CORe churches provide spaces for young people to meet. What a space is can vary from church to church: youth rooms, pathfinder camps, community service, bible studies, you name it. What is important, however, is that community can grow specifically among the youngsters.

Thought

Alastair Agbaje, United Kingdom

Many years ago, I spent some time living in Japan as a missionary. When I arrived in the country, I wondered how I could effectively connect and meet people within my new community?

I learnt very quickly that Japanese people enjoy drinking tea and playing football, which created an immediate synergy between my culture and theirs. British people also enjoy tea and football! I was excited about the potential opportunities now available to me.

Some friends invited me to participate in a tea ceremony. Tea ceremonies are very popular in Japan. Neighbours, friends, young people from the community gather together and meet regularly in homes, halls or centres in the community to drink green tea and eat rice cakes called mochi.

I did not really enjoy the tea an mochi at first. I did not tell this to my friends that invited me, of course. That would have been viewed as impolite in their culture. Through the tea ceremonies, I got to meet a group of really nice young people who later invited me to join and play football for their local team. I got the opportunity to participate in an activity I loved, keep fit and meet new people.

What I learnt from the whole experience was that within this new-found culture, the people I met who became my close friends, were intentional about building community. They created a space for me to meet new people and build friendships within their community, which became pivotal to my successful missionary experience in Japan.

We are reminded of the ministry of Jesus throughout the gospels, where he was constantly preaching, teaching, healing and baptising. Jesus was intentional and very good at meeting people where they were. He mingled with all groups of people. He built successful relationships with those he met, supplying them in their needs. This led them to follow him.

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30)


CORe churches recognize the importance of creating spaces and opportunities for young people to be empowered to meet people where they are, enabling natural relationships to grow and impact the lives of young people within the church and local community.

I wonder what some of our church communities would look like if we were to be intentional to create spaces in our churches for our young people to meet more frequently during the week. How could this be achieved? What could you do to encourage and motivate the young people in your church to create an initiative that will lead them to providing more meeting spaces in your church?

Discussion 

  • Remember some of the best conversations you have had. Where did they take place? What was special about that ‘place’?
  • How can you improve ‘meeting’ in the spaces you already have?
  • Does your church have any intergenerational meeting spaces?
  • What steps could you take to make the church a natural meeting space for the young people?

Implementation questions

  • What do you already do to provide meeting ‘spaces’ for young people?
  • Are there elements of your church’s culture that need changing to provide more of these opportunities?
  • Do we have any physical spaces for meeting in your church?
  • Can we implement at least 3 of the suggestions below?
  • What is achievable to encourage meeting between people within the next 12 months?

Suggestions for implementation

  • Have a dedicated youth room.
  • Have weekend retreats and spiritual weeks throughout the year.
  • Provide programmes in which young adults can explore their faith and its implications and ask honest questions, e.g. small groups and Sabbath School.
  • Plan and implement the youth week of prayer.
  • Have evangelistic efforts and community service activities where young people can participate.
  • Encourage and sponsor members to take part in national meeting events.
  • Plan and allow diverse activities in the church.