Becoming a Community Where Faith Flourishes Beyond High School
By Sharon Galgay Ketcham (InterVarsity Press)
Student ministry tends to follow trends that often conflict with one another. Trends range from cargo shorts or skinny jeans to pro-lock-in or anti-lock-in. These trends originated as a response to the question: “How do we make church attractive to teenagers?”
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with trying to reach as many students as possible. However, that approach has led to a new question: “How do we stop young adults from leaving the church after high school?”
Sharon Galgay Ketcham is no stranger to these trends and many others within student ministry, having decades of experience within the local church and as practical theologian at Gordon College.
In Reciprocal Church, Ketcham lists different responses to the problem of how to stop the bleeding. She proposes a theory that the struggle stems from our culture’s value of the individual over the value of the community. Ketcham argues that in the Old and New Testament eras, the teachings weren’t towards “you” or “I”, but “we” and “y’all” (thank you, Texas).
Ketcham points out that community can bring differences of opinions. She encourages the older generation to look at younger generations as opportunities. Likewise, she encourages younger generations to embrace the value of the older generation’s wisdom. This can only happen through acknowledgement of our unity in Christ and the generations working together.
A “reciprocal church” is not a perfect church, but it is a church that values community and embraces the conflict that it presents and unifies as the body of Christ.
Micah Roddy, student pastor
First Baptist Church