Sticky Faith Part 2 – Sticky Gospel

We recently have been working through The Jesus Creed for Students for our Sunday night time with youth (we call the time SWAP Meet). The Jesus Creed is the statement made in the reply by Jesus in Matthew 22:

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (v.  37-40)

This command by Jesus as he quotes Deuteronomy and Leviticus is the focus of the discussions raised during our conversations at SWAP Meet with our youth.

The main intention and purpose for us studying this simple yet complex commandment has been to create an opportunity for our students to connect the truth and calling of Jesus with the way, truth, and life we are to have. In other words, it is what Paul describes as the completion of the gospel. The gospel for followers of Jesus is more than words or a story told. It is the way, truth, and life. It is a story entered not just read.

The gospel is the topic of the second chapter of Sticky Faith titled “Sticky Gospel.” Chap Clark points out the common inability of teenagers to articulate or define their faith. This coincides with research by Christian Smith presented in Soul Searching and analysis in the same area by Kenda Creasy Dean in her book Almost Christian. The lack of being able to speak about their faith accompanies an incomplete gospel as I mentioned before.

So the question then arises, “What is going on?” I believe that we first have to take a look at the gospel being portrayed to young people by the adults who influence them. And as research has shown us, the greatest influence (positive or negative) on young people are their parents. Chap makes this statement about the incomplete gospel message adolescents are developing:

“They are learning this gospel from us—from the gospel we believe, talk about, and, most important, model to them everyday. Our kids are mirrors of our attitudes and beliefs.”

What gospel do we believe, talk about, and model? Is it an incomplete or distorted one? How can we embrace the story of the gospel in a way that relates the truth of trusting God with all we are to our children?

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Jesus invites people into his life and his way. He takes what is and points to the new way of the Kingdom of God.  Come see what this journey is all about!

One way to think about the mission of Jesus - He calls into question the way things are and points to the way things may be in the Kingdom of God. 

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