Growing people is more agricultural than Industrial

Jesus spoke a lot about farming: sowing and reaping; different kinds of plants; different soil types. We are starting to understand these agricultural principles at our youth church. Growing big people, one of our core purposes as a youth church, is a messy business. People are not made to grow efficiently, the process is much more organic, and much more rewarding, than that. At St Christopher’s youth church, we have no production line, no mechanised processes, we don’t churn out batches and there is no “one size fits all.” Instead, we are dealing with the beautiful, God-given process of growing humans. It’s much more time-consuming, more frustrating, and less predictable, But the rewards hugely outweigh the costs.

We have had to deliberately cultivate a farming mentality – an agricultural environment that forces us to focus on the environment over the yield. We have come to realise that without nutrients, healthy soil, fertilisation and nourishment, the harvest will be poor. All of these elements require vast investments of that most precious of commodities called time. An agricultural approach is so much more humane in today’s fast-paced, industrialised, technology-driven culture. It’s not difficult to see why so many people are burning out as they are pushed beyond their physical and emotional limits. Instead, our business is to empower our young people with principles and concepts that will last them a lifetime. The process will be slower and it will be much harder to document, but the final outcome will be far superior to the alternative.

At St Christopher’s youth church, we commit never to do this. We have the profound privilege of simply cultivating the culture in which our youngsters can grow and develop into all that God has destined them to become. We are convinced that if we take care of the health of our youth church, the growth will take care of itself. Healthy things grow. We have stopped focussing on outcomes and instead remain committed to building an environment in which our young people can grow and thrive.

“Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”
Matthew 9:37-38.

Mr Pountain
Head of Religious Education/Director of Spirituality