The purpose of this paper is to develop a theologically informed and contextually sensitive plan for healthy youth praxis within The Falls Church, which attempts to address the systemic abandonment of adolescence such that the adult community assimilates and adopts youth into the life of the church through positive relationships.
The Falls Church is a historic, growing Anglican Church located in Northern Virginia. Four years ago, the congregation voted to re-align denominational affiliation ties from the United States Episcopal Church to CANA, The Coalition of Anglicans in America.
Student ministry of The Falls Church has grown numerically in the past three years and has had a rich history of outreach and discipleship youth work in the Washington D. C. suburbs since the 1970s, yet has not fully addressed the adoption and assimilation of young people by the adults in the community. The culture of youth assimilation is desired by the senior pastor and church leadership, but not practiced to the extent needed to support adolescents in a healthy way. Youth ministry is a high priority of The Falls Church.
The Washington D. C. suburbs create a high expectation for youth to perform academically, athletically, and to excel in social status. This seems to drive families into a fast-paced lifestyle, and these values are carried over into our church community. The cultural fragmentation of the family interjects this value into our community. With its rich history, the diverse educational components create a fragmented program and unintentionally work against the development of biblical community. The desire for the congregation to be a “family of families,” is undermined by the effective development of the separate ministries.1 Young people have been delegated to their own program and miss the blessings of intergenerational ministry.
Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, PhD
1 Dennis B Guernsey, New Design for Family Ministry (Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries International, 1982), 100.
Material is subject to copyright.
Byrne, Jimes, "A Strategy for Engaging Students in Spiritual Formation for the Falls Church That Reverses Systemic Abandonment" (2012). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 81.