Everybody appreciates it when someone listens to them. A few months ago in a staff meeting we were considering how to more effectively engage students and share the gospel more often. One of our main conclusions was that we needed to create a space where we could listen to them. During the past month we have been using a new evangelism tool called Soularium. Soularium is a set of 50 images that help people share their experiences, hopes and beliefs. The tool is used by a facilitator (staff or student leader) who poses a question to which the audience responds using an image to help them explain themselves. In this way it helps foster authenticity and allows people to talk about things they often do not share. While you can pose a wide range of questions, the main idea is to hear what their experiences and hopes are in life, both with respect to their personal plans and their spirituality. We also ask them to talk about God. It is really pretty special to have someone share these things with you. And almost universally students tell us they appreciated the opportunity to express themselves. At the end we offer to pray for them and contact them if they are interested in talking more. www.mysoularium.com
We already knew that individualism, pluralism, relativism and pragmatism are significant influences in the minds of young people. As we hear their stories there is a sense that this generation is generally full of hope, believes in a god without religion and is pretty comfortable with the “confusion” of conflicting ideologies. Many indicate they are searching, but a search for truth is seemingly out of reach. The search is much more passive and their choices while not unreasoned seem to be based on sentiment than evidence. While there are lost of answers that might be helpful in the midst of the confusion, belief is experiential for this generation. A good argument is interesting but rarely convincing. They need to see it work.
What a great challenge! And the church is up to it, because the Holy Spirit is at work in us.