The Bible is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim – St Augustine.
The problem for most of us is that we stay in the shallows. That is what researcher, David Kinnaman, argues in a book called You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church. For Kinnaman it all boils down to this:
The Christian church…has a shallow faith problem because we have a discipleship problem. Moreover, diagnosing and treating shallow faith among young adults is urgent because we have a shallow faith problem among all adults.
In other words, the reason young people eventually leave the church is because they have “a shallow faith problem”. The reason young people have a shallow faith problem is because we all have a shallow faith problem. But this is not new. In fact, it is a very old problem. It was the same problem facing the church in Hebrews 5:12-14. The writer says:
By this time, you ought to be teachers but you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature.
One of the best ways to solve our shallow faith problem is to help people venture out into the deep. That is why, starting in term 2, I will be running Discipleship Training courses on a Wednesday night at St Philips. We will start with an 8-week Bible Overview course called God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. Each session will include a mixture of video content, Bible study, discussion and reading.
The top two priorities for St Philips, that our staff and key leaders agreed on at our vision planning days in August were (1) Discipleship, and (2) Growing Young. What makes this doubly exciting is that they are exactly what the Parish Council were looking for in hiring a new Associate Minister – me! They were at pains to emphasise discipleship and young people in the hiring process. Why else would we have come all the way to Perth to share in the vision!?
More information will be coming soon, but, for now, mark your diary for
May 1, 7:30-9:00pm at St Philips.