Did you guess the E Word?
Did you think the E word was Evangelism? Exhortation? Espresso?
All fine guesses and two of the three are correct, in a way, because the E-Word is Engagement. In fact, if you offer me Espresso I will also be fully engaged.
Pastor Carey Nieuwhof recently wrote a post called 10 Predictions About the Future Church and Shifting Attendance Patterns and his number six prediction struck a chord for me.
6. Attendance will no longer drive engagement; engagement will drive attendance. Currently, many churches try to get people to attend, hoping it drives engagement. In the future, that will flip. The engaged will attend, in large measure because only the engaged will remain.
If you really think about this … engagement driving attendance is exactly what has fuelled the church at its best moments throughout history. It’s an exciting shift.
I sum it up this way: Discipleship Is Engagement
In my youth ministry, if a student has any relationship with Christ at all from, “I said a prayer one time” to “I grew up in the church”, I work quickly to find where a kid may fit. Why? Because an engaged kid sticks around and continues to follow Jesus in some manner.
If kids are not being engaged they are not in the process of discipleship. They are like the men in the Parable of the Workers where it says shows a vineyard owner looking for workers, “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.”
The vineyard owner asks the workers, “Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ and they respond, “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
They could have said, “No one has engaged us.” and they would have been equally correct.
Our role, as youth workers and believers, is to live a life of engagement. To engage these “doing nothing ” kids to jump into the vineyard and start their journey of faith. If we’ll commit to engaging students I believe it will be a model to our adult leaders and even other students.
Who are the kids doing nothing in your youth ministry and how can you engage them to go further in their faith to follow Jesus?
I asked Pastor Nieuwhof two questions regarding his practice of engagement and you can read his answers and my commentary on them HERE.