I have written a blog about the book Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus prior to this post. But the more I read this book, the more I am just impressed with the philosophy of Mark Yaconelli. The following is a section where he encourages student ministers (parents, guardians, etc.) to simply ask students, “How is God present?”
One way in which we can help in our discipleship is to ask questions. Jesus loved asking people questions. It is a great way to engage in conversations that are natural and reveal the actual thoughts and feelings of an individual.
The simple question, “How is God present?” is a great way to help students begin to look for and acknowledge him in their everyday lives.
Mark Yaconelli, in his book Contemplative Youth Ministry, gives four reasons why this is so helpful.
- “First, I’m reminding them that God is present and available.”
This gives the students the reminder that God is actually with us (as the name Emmanuel is defined) and that He is intimately interested in our lives. Whether it is a soccer match, volunteering at the rescue mission, or simply taking a walk down the street, God is with us.
- “Second, the question also communicates that youth have the capacity to notice God.”
What an incredible thought! Your student has the capacity to notice God. This is the Creator we are talking about. The one that said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light. Sometimes adults can give off the impression that students cannot understand God and the awesome privilege we have to relate to Him. By asking that simple question we affirm our belief that they have the ability to see God at work in their lives.
- “Third, I am helping them reflect on their real-life theologies and religious biases.”
I’ll use Mark’s words to describe this one. He writes, “When I ask a young person, ‘How is God present in this moment?’ she may respond, ‘I don’t think God has anything to do with my school; God is just about praying and church.’ To ask youth to notice God is to invite them to reflect on their beliefs concerning God’s relationship to the world.’
- “Finally, when I ask young people to notice the Holy Spirit in their midst, I’m helping them develop their sensitivity to God.”
And what better goal as those to whom God has gifted us with the training and rearing of these wonderful students, than to help them ‘develop their sensitivity to God’? This is, and should be, our heart beat, to draw the hearts of our students to a deep love of our Father.
I am praying for you, as you have the most influence, the most time, and the most potential, that God would open your eyes to the many opportunities we have to point our students to ‘the Name’, as the Jewish people call Him.