Culture is rapidly changing, and as the years go by it is increasingly engaging our children in stronger ways. Sadly, we’ve stopped creating new ways to engage our young people in the pursuit of a faith-based relationship with God.
Culture is cultivating consumers, while OCA is actively seeking to cultivate contributors.
I put together a group that made up of OCA faculty, administration, board members, area ministers, university professionals, and a creative designer to discuss faith formation on our campus. We discussed a wide range of topics, but the three questions that seemed to be the most engaging and important were the following:
1) How do we make faith formation something that's exciting, relevant, and engaging?
2) How do we get students to pursue a contribution to Christ's narrative?
3) How do we form faith into children that are heavily engaged in cultural pursuits?
As we continue our efforts to raise contributors in a society of consumers, it’s important to ask questions like this. I’m grateful for the input we received from all who were involved, and I’m excited about the new direction we were able to collectively turn.
This semester we will attempt to ramp up our cultivation efforts through a spiritual life experience that we are calling The Pursuit. The Pursuit starts with the fact that God pursues a relationship with us. So, our pursuit is not an attempt to win God over, rather an attempt to align our pursuit to His.
The Pursuit functions through three primary drivers.
1) The Pursuit must capture our kids hearts by playing an active role in their faith formation.
2) The Pursuit should help students explore and discover their spiritual gifts, and then develop that gift into their purpose. God gives each of us gifts, so that we will find a purpose. Our purpose allows us to not be taken captive (Colossians 2:8).
3) The Pursuit must reveal the gospel narrative as a lifestyle worth pursuing.
From the very beginning of the design process of this new experience we also had to acknowledge some things about our students.
Reminding ourselves of where our students are allowed us to create an experience that connects to everyone in different ways.
So here’s the big idea:
The Pursuit will connect kids to a story that is bigger than themselves by creating experiences that are relevant, engaging, and age appropriate while helping students experience the love, freedom, and purpose of a life following Christ.
We believe that students want to be a part of a great story. Their decisions are the result of them choosing a story that they think is compelling. The story of our culture is full of lies and half truths, but on the surface appears glamorous. We must unleash the gospel narrative, so that students will be caught up in the wonder, excitement, passion and sacrifice of God’s story. The Pursuit is a vehicle to tell and engage students in that story. It is about engaging them in a story that is so compelling they cannot help but want to be a part of it. Our culture is seeking to take our children's hearts captive through the narrative of consumption. Can we help them become contributors?
Over the next few blogs, I will begin to unpack The Pursuit, but for now let these few points sum up the experience.
We’re excited to see how The Pursuit helps our students grow in relationship with Christ. But it’s almost just as exciting to be on a path that seems to be unique. We see that there is a major lacking in relatable spiritual application for our kids, and we’re doing something about it. We hope you will join us in The Pursuit.