Youth ministry in the independent house church movement : a liturgical evaluation

Wileman, Jonathan Charles (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-03)

Thesis

Young people, teenagers and children are members of various communities. These communities include their families, society, their schools and their churches or, more appropriately, their parents’ church. These various communities impact their lives in significant ways: they provide the frameworks which determine who they are and what they are going to become. Through their interaction within these communities, life is given meaning. All of these communities operate according to a “liturgy” i.e. an order or style that allows each individual to discover his or her purpose in life. Parents, as the primary community, should provide a healthy and positive environment in which the young life is shaped. However, this is not the only community in which the young person interacts. The church is another and has an enormous influence and vital responsibility in helping to facilitate this shaping process. If, however, the church does not identify fully with young people and their needs, it will become irrelevant and their young lives will be shaped by other communities of influence that are not necessarily positive. A new liturgy i.e. “New Wine” is required to be effective with today’s postmodern generation. The institutionalized church faces a very real danger of being complacent and apathetic in terms of “doing church” in a way that is relevant and attractive. The purpose of this dissertation is to propose a different form of faith community i.e. a “New Wineskin”, a wineskin that is elastic and flexible. Along with the positive nurturing and influence of the family, the church as a new faith community must become creative and authentic if it is to reach postmodern youth. Central to this new liturgy is relationships: relationship with God, with parents, with family, with friends and others. As the Godhead is made up of three “Beings” in relationship with each other, so we have been created to be in relationship firstly with God and then with each other. Thus in a postmodern society, relationships within the family and the church are essential in order to lead young people into a real, authentic and healthy relationship with God.

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