As such, joint workshops, community projects or platforms can all help bridge the divide between youths and government officials. As an example, dozens of local youth councils were established in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolution in Tunisia — an initiative that has fostered newfound confidence between youths and local politicians. Rather than working with youths in isolation, peace-building projects seeking the engagement of youths should also include parents and elders.
Neither do older generations. By bringing together the vision of young people today, and the experience of older generations, new answers to challenges are created. Youths are deeply influenced by the attitudes of their entourage.
Perseverance of the saints : the eternally elect in Christ will certainly persevere in faith. You can incorporate innovative strategies into your church ministrystrategies that will affect not only the way you do church but that will dramatically impact the lives of current church members and help you in reaching out to your community. Christianity portal. Thereby he covered all our disobedience, which is embedded in our nature and in its thoughts, words, and deeds, so that this disobedience is not reckoned to us as condemnation but is pardoned and forgiven by sheer grace, because of Christ alone. Bartholomew I.
Yet adults might perceive youth-led initiatives as a threat to their own power and position. This points to the need for youth peace-building projects to be accompanied by dialogue and cooperation between young people, their relatives and community elders. Through partnerships with community groups and elder councils, youths can demonstrate the benefits of their peace actions. Such communication and collaboration channels also enable young people and adults to explore the common problems they face and to tackle them together, thus participating in the emergence of sustainable solutions.
While efficiencies can always be found, monitoring and evaluation activities need to be undertaken, improved and made routine across all peace-building initiatives capitalizing on youth engagement. Suffering from a chronic lack of financial support, youth peace-building activities often have very limited ability to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of their work — a situation that seriously impedes the visibility and sustainability of their initiatives. But beyond increased financial support, innovative approaches to evaluate the impact of youth engagement in conflict resolution must be used — particularly those that build on qualitative evidence and participative approaches.
The evaluation process recently started by the Nepal Partnership for Children and Youth in Peacebuilding — a coalition of local youth groups and international organizations — is particularly illustrative. Current youth programming focuses much of its attention on young individuals who were troublemakers or soldiers. This effectively rewards youths for joining armed groups — or is at least perceived as doing so by local communities.
Simple rewarding systems such as certificates, prizes and scholarships can serve as great incentives for youth. They can also inspire their peers to take action and participate in peace programs. Recent surveys show that a little more than seventy percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. However, if we define a Christian as someone who, by faith and grace, has trusted in Christ and has been redeemed and changed by the power of the Gospel, the number drops dramatically. The downside to this is there can be downright hostility to the Gospel. The upside is that, as "cultural Christianity" is no longer popular, it is encouraging a more robust desire within Christians to get serious about their faith.
But if we're going to proclaim the Gospel in an increasingly antagonistic culture, we're going to have to leave where we are comfortable. We can't engage evangelistically by going with the culture and we can't engage effectively without living in the culture. So how do we preach Christ in the culture without being captured by it?
I think a big part of this answer is seen in Acts , just before Jesus ascends to Heaven. Jesus' disciples were looking to Him for an overt coming of His Kingdom, one demonstrated through political and military power over the Romans. What they missed was that Jesus' Kingdom had already come. It's already broken into the world and it's breaking into the world, only it doesn't look like the world would expect. It's subversive and underground, yet very real and present.
Just like the disciples, we can look around and see certain cultural indicators that are going the wrong direction. We can subvert this broken world order, however, by serving those who are hurting and sharing Christ with those in need. In so doing, we live as agents of gospel transformation in a time when it's so desperately needed.
Jesus compares us to yeast and small seeds that go in, mix, grow, and change everything. Thus, we need to know our culture and context, engage it well, live for Christ and subvert the brokenness around us, and do it in culturally relevant ways. Paul was unashamed to say, "What you have worshiped in ignorance, this I proclaim to you" Acts I am struck both by his boldness and savvy.
May we all be bold and wise as we engage an increasingly hostile and confused culture around us with the greatest news the world has ever known—Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life. For more resources on the topic of contextualization, see these related blog posts:. Avoiding the Pitfall of Syncretism. Beware of Obscurantism. Consumerism or Contextualization? Also, I've written two books dealing with the issue of contextualization: Breaking the Missional Code and Subversive Kingdom.
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