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Nailed It!

Children

Nailed it!

By: Rev. Cora Glass
Waterford: Central United Methodist Church

Have you been enjoying the show on Netflix called “Nailed It!”? Nailed It is a show where amateur bakers compete to replicate complicated cakes original perfected by expert pastry chefs. The result is final products that look and taste nothing like the model they were trying to recreate. While most of us sit laughing on the couch at sideways cakes, seized chocolate, and child-like decorations; the show ultimately teaches us an important message: We can’t become great on our first try.

At the Christians Engaged with Faith Formation conference in Des Moines, Iowa in October 2018, I went to a workshop called “Building Spiritual Muscle with Youth” led by Chris Wilterdink from Discipleship Ministries. Chris explained that just like baking a masterpiece out of cake, most of us will not become mature disciples of Christ on our first try. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus tells his disciples, “[G]o and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”  Jesus acknowledges that discipleship is a process of learning and exploring. Each time we think we know what our scriptures say, Jesus asks us to learn them more deeply.

To build our spiritual muscle takes time. The first step is to know where we are currently. When you sit down to a weight machine at the gym for the first time, you have to take a few minutes to figure out how to use it and how much weight you are ready to lift. If you try to lift too much, you could hurt yourself or those around you. The same is true when new or young Christians begin their journey of discipleship. To find out our “Spiritual Muscle” we can use a variety of measurement scales (see some here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1V9RUelSfc-KM0BDC50BoHvq_sFIIcXHF).

To successfully build spiritual muscle, we have to know where we are and where we want to go.  Then we can build programs and experiences that target the spiritual muscles we want to strengthen. Sometimes we are tempted to build programs or curriculum without first considering where we want to go and what we desire to teach or learn. We must start with the end in mind.

Wilterdink specifically spoke about growing spiritual muscle with youth. He suggested that spiritual mature youth should be able to answer three main questions:

  1. Identity – who am I?
  2. Belonging – where do I fit?
  3. Purpose – what difference do I make?

Consider the programs you lead or participate in. How do they help grow ones Identity, Belonging, or Purpose? How can each program help lead participants towards better answers to these questions? What are you doing to help yourself and others see the gains you’re making in your spiritual muscle?

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The Michigan Conference