Zerubbabel Youth Ministries: Teaching the Total Truth
I went to my first conference as a young child in the early 1980’s. It was in Hixton, WI. We laugh now saying that the youth program then basically amounted to sending the young people to the basement to watch TV. Our youth program has developed a lot since that time under the guidance of many generous individuals. I have very fond memories of summer camp in Blowing Rock, NC and various conferences across the country where we had great teaching and lots of fun times. More importantly for me personally, I made connections with friends and mentors who have had a profound impact on my life. With much correction, guidance, and encouragement I was lead to a radical change in my life–ultimately a change of opera-tors as I said yes to Christ himself living out His life by me. Today, I have the great privilege of returning what was done for me through the years.
Presently, I lead a small Sunday school class of teenagers, most of whom I’ve taught for around 10 years. It’s been amazing to see little children grown into young men and women who really seem to care about Christ (certainly much more than I did at their age!). My main goal at Sunday school through the years has been for them to understand that the spiritual truth God has laid out for us in the Bible is the only important thing in life–"not God first but God only," as Norman Grubb would say. All else can have its rightful place only when Jesus is understood as the Alpha and the Omega. Beyond that, I want them to have a solid understanding of the Bible itself and a basic knowledge of the truth of who they are: containers of Jesus Christ. I can’t say how much of this we’ve achieved through the years, but these basic goals are always our touchstones.
We spent the better part of two years following the narrative of the Bible from Genesis to Acts. We went chronologically, rather than the order of books in the Bible. We skipped over chunks here and there so that our focus really was the narrative itself. I wanted them to better understand the Bible as a single story of who God is and who he means us to be, so we spent a lot of time on the fall and a lot of time on the Gospel story. I wanted them to keep sight of the thread throughout scripture of God’s unfolding plan to redeem mankind and bring us back into a right union with Him through Jesus Christ. Studying the Bible this way has really helped me to see the big picture in the jumble of stories and verses I’ve known through the years. I hope it’s done the same for them.
As our youth have gotten older, we’ve looked more closely at the truth of Christ as you. I think really knowing it first-hand takes a certain maturity and failure that create a need. Nonetheless, I’ve found that even young people can have a solid understanding of what it means to be a vessel, and our basic makeup of body, soul, and spirit. I’m thrilled to hear a group of teenagers rattle off the answers when I ask them what analogies scripture uses to describe how we function as people: vine and branches, bride and groom, slave and master, head and body, vessels. My hope is that they’ll be equipped with knowledge they can apply as needs come up in their lives. And in truth, I’ve already seen some of them do it.
Not long ago, we spent almost a year looking at our spiritual heritage and how we came to know what we boldly claim as the Total Truth. We read through biographies on Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, and Norman Grubb, and talked about the creation of The Intercessor and Zerubbabel Ministries. It helped me (and them I hope) to see and appreciate the great cost some have paid through the years for us to know what we know. I think we value things more when we know what they cost!
Our annual summer camp has really become an opportunity to continue what we do in our Sunday school but with the addition of a few friends and the luxury of more time together. Two years ago we started the tradition of actual tent camping for a couple nights at a camp ground near the base of Grandfather Mountain. I mention this because I think it speaks to the spiritual maturity we have gained through the years. When I was young, real camping would not have been a consideration. There were certainly many practical reasons for this, but practical reasons aside, there were too many bad attitudes too much bad behavior and basic unruliness–and I was certainly chief among them. Now our camping experience is a practice in teamwork and fellowship. I think of us sitting in a circle in our camp chairs with our Bibles open talking about a Bible story, body-soul-spirit, Christ as us, and I’m blown away. Through His chosen vessels, God has given me so much, and to be a part of passing it to another generation is one of the greatest rewards in my life.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 26 No 2
- Who Will Deliver Me?
- Our Commission
- Editor’s Note
- Total Living Center: A Vision
- Further Soul/Spirit Clarification
- Zerubbabel Press: Republishing Norman Grubb’s Books
- Our Cutting Edge
- Christianity’s Lost Chord
- A Vision for Zerubbabel
- Zerubbabel Youth Ministries: Teaching the Total Truth
- The Christ Life…In Everyday Living
- Nevertheless I live, yet not I…
- Words to Live By…