At its most basic level, ministry with children and young people is about relationships. But relationships are anything but basic.
What, then, are relationships in ministry and what are they for, and how can we form and deepen meaningful relationships? Can we uncover some of the blind spots in our contemporary understanding of relationships with people.
Relational ministry will be re-imagined not as seeking to influence people toward some end (to accept Jesus / avoid immoral behaviour / come to church etc.) but rather, to see it as place-sharing.
Ministry is about connection, one to another, about sharing in suffering and joy, about persons meeting persons with no pretense or secret motives. It is about shared life, confessing Christ not outside the relationship but within it. This is living the gospel.
Relational Ministry talks
In October 2018, Professor Andy Root spoke at a number of events organised by the Church of Scotland about relational ministry.
Andy Root is Associate Professor ofYouth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary in the States. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences, colleges, and churches and is known for an engaging style that laces together stories, theological depth, and humour. Andy has been involved in speaking and training in many parts of the world and with a number of reformed traditions. His books are used widely in training.
The importance of and cultural shifts around relationships
- Do you feel there has been a relational crisis or change?
- Do you see a relational crisis in churches and with our young people?
- Do we retreat or ignore this crisis in our churches?
- What do parents want to see church doing for their kids?
- How does church compete with other family activities?
The focus and purpose of our relationships with children and young people
- Which story resonated the most for you?
- What point most connects with what you are doing at your church?
- What practices, events, etc. create spaces for such times?
- Tell of a time you experienced "place-sharing" in your own life.
- Tell of a time you experienced "place-sharing" at your church.
Developing relational and incarnational ministry
- Where would you say Jesus Christ is concretely present in your life and ministry?
- How do your practices seek to be faithful to seeking the presence of Christ?
- The theology of the cross is a theological experience of sharing in the depth of people's lives, particularly their sufferings and temptations. What is risky about this?
- How can we work with others in our church to develop a ministry of "place-sharing"?