Now that I have internet again, I'll comment more on PDYM by Doug Fields, inspired by Rick Warren. I'll start with Doug's final C, the Core students. These are the truly committed kids who actually become disciples. What does he suggest we do with them? Train them to be ministers. These are kids who have school, homework, band practice, football practice, and all kinds of stress, and we want to pile on the extra burden of being ministers. Now, I do agree that if you are a Christian, you are automatically a minister. I believe that we should instruct children in good, solid theology from birth. However, to make them actual student ministers would add stress to their lives and they would feel guilty to say no.
What we could do, however, is take your most faithful kids, perhaps have dinner with them, and discuss things like the 5 points of Calvinism, Covenant theology, etc. If they would like to present what they've discussed, then great. We'll schedule a time to do that. If they would like to do pastoral visitation, then great. We'll schedule a time to do that. But let's not guilt trip them by telling them they ought to be ministers against their better judgment when they already have enough stress just being teenagers.
Now for the good ideas. As much as I rebel against the five Cs and the five purposes, Doug brings them together in harmony in chapter 12 of his book. He mentions drawing a visual representation of your plans with the Christian education program. Saddleback, of course, has a baseball diamond scheme. I decided to go with a bullseye with Core students at the center. However, I still don't really believe in teaching the five groups differently than the other. If they are solid believers or baby Christians or even completely lost, I will adjust my lessons to their level, but I will not treat them differently.
Doug had one really good suggestion of hot nights. On the more party-like occasions like New Year's or Prom night, have a church event planned so that students can have a good alternative to whatever atrocities they could be involved in. Today is Valentine's and next week is Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. I have class on all those days and will not be at church, but in the future, perhaps we could plan some event, invite people from the community, and have some kind of Christian message with the Gospel presented.
Here are things Trinity EPC currently does that could be considered in Rick's 5 purposes. Number 1, we have worship ever Sunday. 2, we have Sunday School and Children's Church for discipleship purposes, though discipleship doesn't end there. 3. One Wednesday a month we have family night supper. I used to call it Mayberry night because we'd watch Andy Griffith, compare it to Scripture, and eat. When kids started coming, I showed Pinocchio, Toy Story, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream coat. No real lesson, just a time to chill. So that's our fellowship.
4. For evangelism, I never have really had to push the kids to invite their friends. They invite more friends who invite friends than can fit in our rooms. I do need to teach them theology and how to confront those who disagree with them, but our kids are automatic evangelists, and I'm satisfied with that for the time being.
5. Shepherd's staff is our ministry. One couple took over what was originally a food pantry and turned it into a whole outreach that meets basic needs of people in Loganville. They also have a Thursday night supper and Bible study to feed their souls, and we have most of our members from that ministry. I rejoice in that.