#30-Young Adult Discipleship ft. Ryan Beer & Devan Scollon

 In

Young Adult Discipleship

 

What are the questions that young adults are wrestling with today?  What do we need to understand to help the church as a whole be more effective in the discipleship of young people?  Join Rob and his guests as they unpack these key questions and think about the faith formation of the younger generation.

 

“The person of Jesus and who he is and what he taught and the following of him is core to who I am and I would say who the church is.” – Ryan Beer

 

“It’s like Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. So I hold on to that. And, and you look at to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. So those are the core things that in the midst of all these conversations, that’s what he wants me to hold on to. But those things, those are relational values that he’s holding us to” – Devan Scollon

Topics Covered Include

  • Social Media Impact
  • Effective Discipleship Approach
  • Pitfalls
  • Building Relationships

Show Notes

 

 

BCMB Pastor to Pastor
BCMB Pastor to Pastor
#30-Young Adult Discipleship ft. Ryan Beer & Devan Scollon
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Transcription

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Ryan Beer:
The person of Jesus and who he is and what he taught and the following of him is core to who I am and I would say who the church is. You know, I think that's, that's always a great place to start as a follower of Jesus, because we say exactly that. We follow Jesus. Well, you know, I think a really great place to help young adults and young people is OK. Well, if you're saying that you follow Jesus.

Ryan Beer:
Well, what did Jesus teach?

Devan Scollon:
In Jesus is the way the truth and the light. So I hold on to that.

Devan Scollon:
And, are you like, look at the kind of, come to love God and love your neighbor as yourself? OK, so those are the core things that in the midst of all these conversations, that's what he wants me to hold on to.

Welcome to the BCMB podcast, Pastor to Pastor. This is a podcast by the British Columbia Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches. We want to help equip and encourage pastors, churches and anyone else who wants to listen in and be more effective in their ministry. This is Episode 30, Young Adult Discipleship with Ryan Beer and Devan Scollon.

Rob Thiessen:
Hey, everyone, is Rob Thiessen here. Welcome to the BCMB podcast, Pastor to Pastor, and of course, sometimes I regret naming it that because it's for everybody and for especially for church leaders. And today, I'm really excited to have with us guests from from our BCMB family, Ryan Beer and Devan. Devan, what's your last name? I don't even asked. Scollon. Scollon. Excellent. Well, I'm glad you said that because I don't know how to pronounce that right. Although it's not difficult that Devan Scollon and I'm just really glad to have these guys with me today as we jump into the topic about young adult discipleship. And so, you know, there's. Yeah, there's a future generation of our church and our churches that are so, so important, and yet, you know, the reports and the studies that come out are kind of grim sometimes about how young adults feel about the church and its relevance. So we want to dive into this subject and say, well, what what has God been doing and teaching us? And you guys are young adults, too. And so we'd love to just hear from you the wisdom that God has given you. So I always start with a couple of questions for my guests. And the question is to just share with us about the faith community that formed you and the people that were instrumental in your life. So, Ryan, why don't you get us started with that and just introduce yourself to to the community?

Ryan Beer:
Sure. Yeah, I well, I grew up on the prairies in southern Alberta. And one of the things that I would really notice is a theme throughout my growing up years is there are always people in our faith community, which I grew up in the E free church. Um, there are always people in our faith community who at various points took an interest in my life and were like mentors or like grandparent figures or or things like that in my life. And I remember even one woman in our church who was probably, I don't know, in her 60s or 70s maybe, who was our Sunday school teacher and was like the advocate for young people in our church. And if anyone ever said anything about young people, she'd always be like, no, we need to invest in young people. So there were just different people who are always kind of championing us and investing us and discipling us in like in one on one mentoring relationships and in small groups of a few of us where they really dove in deep in discipling us and training us up and showing us what it actually meant to follow Jesus. And I, I think that's why I had such a huge value for one on one discipleship and mentoring and coaching and that kind of thing to this day, because there is so many people who invested in my life in my journey.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, Devan?

Devan Scollon:
Yeah, so for me, I grew up in Langley, but I would go to a summer camp up here in the Okanagan, which I know work and live. And when I was 14, I met some leaders, young guys like 18, 19 at this camp. And they also were from like Surrey, that area. And so when we returned back home to Langley, they actually we started just connecting as a group and it wasn't through a formal program or church. But they would just come over Tuesday nights and we would meet at home and go to the Bible or go to McDonald's or just drive around.

Devan Scollon:
And what was so formative for me was that these guys, 18, 19, they, they always treated me like a peer and in their discussions. And then when we opened the word, they never talked down to me. They were definitely coaching me.

Devan Scollon:
But it was it was very peer mentorship. And they treated me like I was just one of them, which was massive for me because I looked up to them and loved hanging around with them and. That kind of style actually shapes how I walk with youth today. And so I had those guys in my life for a few years until I moved up to Salmon Arm, and then when I moved to Salmon Arm, I, there is a guy at church, he was about 30 and he owned a landscaping company. And so he's like, hey, come work for me. I'll teach you how to landscape. I'll teach you to work hard. And every lunch break, we have these theological discussions because he'd always be listening to podcast, as he was working. And then from there, he started these Monday night Bible studies and we'd go there and, and discuss more and. So that was really huge for me, having that older mentor who not just discussed theology and discussed faith with me, but also taught me really practical lessons of working hard. And, and to be listening to good content. And then when I moved Kelowna, I graduated school, I began meeting with a guy in his 60s and we would just meet and talk about life. And then through that, I just got a lot of perspective. And maybe the biggest thing was, seeing God's faithfulness through someone's, a good chunk of life, continually, and even though there is this age gap between us, so many similar struggles or questions or, or things that he had experienced were the same things I was questioning or struggling. But through his testimony and his story, I could see how God was using that and how times like. God would put something in his life, then 20 years later, he would see the purpose or the fruit of it and then, so be reminded of those things for my own fatih formation.

Rob Thiessen:
That's awesome, that's great.

Rob Thiessen:
You both just talked about people in your life that especially as, as young adults. You didn't kind of refer to your family or your parents so much. You just talked about those significant things. And that's, that's interesting because like I have interviewed my parents on podcast before, too, and they were very formational in my faith. But I would say too that, you know, as a young adult, there's just that window where you're making decisions. And when you find people that meet you at that critical time, they really, those are like life choices are made right in those windows. And and you really set a pattern for your life. And there's like an inordinate impact on you in those years. That's great. And, and so that may be a part, part of an answer to a question. But we want to talk today about faith formation and young adults and. And so why is this why is this ministry important to you? Like, why why did you agree to do the podcast and talk about it? Why does it matter?

Rob Thiessen:
Devon?

Devan Scollon:
Well for me, I have a burden for young people like. It's not something that I remember, I went to my first youth group experience when I was 18 actually, my friend was a leader and he's like, hey, come check this out. And my first time there, it's kind of funny. I was kind of blown away because I'd never really been to a youth group. And I was like people, young people are meeting to discuss the Bible? Like this is normal? And it was just and since then I was like just totally bought in. And God has really put a passion and a burden on my heart for young people. And so. Love walking with the youth, but as a young adult, specifically, what I've been seeing recently as I've been growing up is. I guess this is where almost the most challenging time, even compared to teens is kind of this eighteen to twenty three age gap where faith becomes like a massive wrestling point. And the question of like, am I going to stick with this? Does this have relevance for my life? And I guess seeing the, like walking with friends as younger, doing you know, bible studies and mission stuff and different camps and then getting that twenty, twenty one, twenty two and seeing them walk away or kind of leave the faith behind and being like, what is happening, what's going on? And so seeing that heartbreak in my own experience in my own community is kind of makes me passionate about having the discussion.

Rob Thiessen:
Ryan, what are your thoughts on, on what's, what drives you in this in this area?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, well, I would say, as you kind of alluded to already, a piece of it is just having those people who, who were there for me and mentored me and discipled me well when I was a young person, I think that birthed in me a desire to do that for others.

Ryan Beer:
But I think when you think about young adults specifically, it's really a time in life where there's really a fair amount of identity formation going on, going on. And I think sometimes that the church doesn't step into that enough and kind of help walk alongside and guide young people as they're trying to discover, like, who am I am and who is God created me to be. And even, even getting into things such as. Like calling like what? What what am I supposed to do with my life and these kinds of issues? Those are really big issues that young people are walking through in that time. And I think it's really important that the church comes alongside and helps them navigate that time. That can be sometimes confusing at times. And I think the other thing is, is that especially for those who grew up in the church, it's a season of. Of making your faith, your own, like moving away from it, being just your parents faith, to. OK, so now I get to choose what do I really believe? And do I believe what I was always taught or vice versa. I've worked with young people who grew up not in the church, and then they're wrestling with, while I've always been taught, God isn't real. But, but now I get to decide for myself. Now I get to wrestle with that. Do I believe God is real? And I think if so, I think for me, I just think it's so important for us to come alongside young people in that season and help them navigate that time.

Rob Thiessen:
Mm hmm. Yeah, for sure. So, you know, the reason that, that I got your names, both you guys, was just because I heard stories on my work with, with the Conference and the churches about young adult kind of ministry, young adult discipleship that you were both involved in.

Rob Thiessen:
And it'd be great if you just shared maybe what some of the latest things that your, you've been engaged in that you are finding fruitful, that you are that's giving you a lot of joy in working with young adults. And so, Ryan, why don't you just share a little bit, what have you been up to in this area? What are you seeing that's, that gives you joy and seems to be fruitful?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, sure. So the latest thing I did, I was just working through a master's program in ministry, entrepreneurship and innovation. And so for part of that master's program, I had to do an entrepreneurial project.

Ryan Beer:
So mine, I decided to do a project around helping young adults begin to go down the path of discovering calling and what that looks like. And so what I did is I gathered about eight young adults. I wanted to intentionally keep it small. So there was a community feel to it so we could walk in community together. And I asked them to commit to two terms, basically the same terms as they would in their university semester, to commit to that. And then I brought four older adults along for the journey and who would act as coaches and teachers and trainers. And we really focused the first term, really focused on helping young people do two things. One is, to become more open to the work of the Holy Spirit in their life. So we practice different spiritual practices that the church has practiced throughout history of different spiritual practices, being in the word, listening to the spirit together in prayer, different things like that, and read a book about like what is the, who is the Holy Spirit? What does he do, just to open ourselves.

Ryan Beer:
Because if we're going to explore calling, we call it and we believe that calling comes from God, then obviously we have to be able to hear from him effectively to even begin the journey of what am I called to, even in this season and beyond, what am I called to, needs from the Lord? And then the second thing is, we work with young people to, did some different inventories and some different things to discover, like who am I? Like who has God created me to be? And not, not to put people into a box. Sometimes those inventories, they drive me crazy because I'm like, oh, well, you're this your ENTJ so that that's how you always are. And I'm like, don't put me in a box. But but more for the thing of like, if we go through this, you probably are going to learn some things about yourself. And as you learn some things about yourself, you may grow to discover like this. This is who God's created me to be.

Ryan Beer:
And these are the things that I'm passionate about or, or drive me and it may, as you walk in community with others, which was the third piece, as you walk in community for others for this eight month period together. And these people get to know you better and speak into your life.

Ryan Beer:
And as your coach works with you and speaks into your life and draws things out of you, hopefully at the end of that journey you've discovered more about who you are. You've become more open to the Holy Spirit, and you're beginning to wrestle with those questions of what is what is God asking me, what is he calling me into in this season of my life? So we did that with 8 young adults, it was incredibly formational for them. The reviews we had was just like, oh, I'm so glad that that somebody did this with me.

Ryan Beer:
And I would love to see other young adults do it. And just some of the amazing things that the young adults felt God calling them to just like, was a massive encouragement to me because I went into it going, I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm going to do an experiment and see what God does. So encouraging to see how it actually was meaningful.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. So Ryan, like when you say it was an eight month period, like were you meeting weekly, was there bi weekly meetings? What did it look like in terms of the regular schedule of contact with people?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, so the first time we met once we met every other week for the purposes of, of teaching and going through some of these inventories and going through these spiritual practices together, and then the other week would be they would meet with their coach one on one, OK.

Ryan Beer:
And then the second term, we, we ramped it up a bit and we met every week as a group, as a community. And, and then they also met still on a bi weekly cycle with their coach.

Rob Thiessen:
Mm hmm. What would you say was the best part of, of that? I mean, maybe it was all equal. I don't know. But was there, was there something that they consistently stood out to them as being like the rich, rich part for them?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, I like different, different young adults, I think highlighted different things, but I think one thing that was highlighted in almost all of them was just how much they appreciated having a coach that asked them good questions and caused them to wrestle with different things and apply things because they had to come up with actual action steps that they would actually live out with their coaches. And so there was this aspect of, of having that person who really wanted to build into them and walk with them and help them grow. That was massive for a lot of them. And then I think the other thing was a lot of them became more open to the spirit. Some of them said, like, I grew up in it in a. A different environment where the Holy Spirit wasn't really a thing, we didn't really talk about it, so even becoming open to the spirit and realizing how the spirit worked for some of them was, was really huge. And I think the last thing is some of them just learned. Some of them said, hey, like I learned a lot about myself that I just didn't realize.

Ryan Beer:
And so I think it was different for all of them. But I think the most consistent thing we found in the reviews was how valuable it was to have that coach.

Rob Thiessen:
Mm hmm. Was it hard to find those coaches? Did you have to train them or what? Did you have a, Prince George just have a plethora of coaches or?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, so part of it, one of the coaches had actually been with me on a different experiment we had done with young adults and had coached young adults before and had done some training in coaching. In their time with working for the university up here and another one of the coaches is actually trained to be a professional coach, so in that and they had just moved they just moved back from being overseas. And so and I knew them well. And so it just kind of like in a way, it kind of is like the perfect storm of everything coming together at the right time.

Rob Thiessen:
Right. Yeah, well, and coaching like coach training, I'm just holding a little set of questions that I used from the coach model. It, you know, it's obviously it could be pretty in-depth and somebody who's really good at it can have learned a lot of skills. But on the other hand, it can just start with a simple list of half decent questions. Right?

Ryan Beer:
A great resource too that we use and this is the model we use is called Gospel Coach. Yeah. Yeah, right. Tom Wood. And we all went through that together. And even other people I've trained around the idea of coaching. We've used that because the coaching is specifically around coaching people through discipleship.

Ryan Beer:
And the coaching there focuses on three things, helping people grow spiritually, helping people grow in their personal life and helping people grow in their and being missional right.

Ryan Beer:
So we use kind of that framework. And so I really would recommend that book. If you're looking for a book that thinks about using coaching as a discipleship tool, it's been really beneficial for me.

Rob Thiessen:
And then was there a particular resource you, you used as a starting point for the work of the Holy Spirit?

Ryan Beer:
We use the book Open to the Spirit by Scott McKnight. OK, I will say that with a caveat.

Ryan Beer:
Some of the young adults found it a little bit too like academic because it's, it's pretty steeped in some in various points in theological language.

Ryan Beer:
Yeah, I to unpack that a bit, but it's a great book through thinking through like it basically it's McKnight's journey of growing up as somebody who the Holy Spirit wasn't really talked about and was kind of like the forgotten person in the Trinity and, and his journey of becoming more open to the spirit.

Ryan Beer:
But he also unpacks scripture about the Holy Spirit. And so,it was helpful for me. It may if you did it with young adults, I think you could do it, but you would just really need to help them. And if they're not very steeped in theological language, unpack some of that and.

Rob Thiessen:
Right, right. I think what I hear you saying, though, is what you, you definitely, by picking that particular topic, you, you set it out as an experiential journey. Like we're not going to talk about theory about God. We're going to talk about how we experience God. And, and that's obviously centered around the work of the Holy Spirit. That's great. Brilliant. Devan, tell me, tell us, tell our listeners a little bit about the journey you've been on this summer.

Devan Scollon:
Yeah. So many of our late teens, young adult leaders, they go off to summer camp for the usually the whole summer and they serve there. They'll join the leadership team at these camps, mostly at Gardam Lake. And so when all that kind of got canceled, there was this like, what do we do for the summer? And were active and went and got jobs, but as I know for myself and for many of my friends, summer can be a really spiritually apathetic time, often you're removed from a lot of relationships or assistant meetings. And so it can be really difficult spiritually. And so kind of last minute, kind of like Rob, it was like, I don't know what this is going to look like, but I'm just going to test this out and hope God shows up with this idea of what we called the Summer Crew. Where we meet weekly for a full day every Wednesday for nine hours with the goal of, meeting together for fellowship, but also for, to serve our city and then to debrief the experience. And so I met up with our pastor, Phil Wagler and Sam Dick from Multiply and Trek. And we kind of put together this idea because I really liked Trek's, They have this model of, of equipping, serving and then debriefing, and I really like that cycle, and they took our group once three years go to Vancouver and they kind of did that with our group. And so that's I love to, to bring that to our context in Kelowna. Actually I was down with the Trek group in October and I was like, if there could just be some way I could bring similar to what they do up to our group in Kelowna, that'd be amazing.

Devan Scollon:
And so that actually kind of turned out this summer. So we had 16 students apply to join the team. And so we met on Wednesdays and we had, we were going through the book of Mark together so they would read daily at home. They'd come together that morning and it'd be a very reflective journaling, trying to get them in the habit of journaling through Mark and then discussing it in these little pods. And then we moved on to our equipping time where we had different leaders, some from different ministries around the Okanagan. And then some congregants from our church and they talk, they took different topics and so it was kind of like set up in labs. So they have like a two hour lab on, What does it mean to be missional in my city? Or listening to God through prayer or learning to discern God's voice? Or identity or authentic friendships or spiritual friendships, all these different topics that a lot of these young adults are asking or trying to figure out. Really practical topics. And so they would lead a lab on it and then in the afternoons we would try to go and put some of it to practice, but also to serve our city. And the heart behind that is. You've probably heard this, the head, hands, heart, so we're trying to get faith to move from the head to the heart, but also to the hands and their desire to see God at work in the community, but also through them.

Devan Scollon:
And so. We did various projects in the city. We even went to Gardam Lake for our last one because they all love the camp and it helped serve them. And then at the end of the day, we would, and their journaling throughout this entire day. We would debrief in small pods each of the things that we went through. So the morning discussion, the labs, the service, and with kind of like three broad questions of what is God teaching me, what is he telling me? And just trying to develop that sense of like God is at work in my life. And because what we're hearing from young adults is like, I don't know, I don't know where he's at work. I kind of just I go about my day, I go to my job or I go to my school or I'm in these life transitions and I'm not really sure where he is. And so that could kind of go along with what Ryan was saying with this idea of calling, yeah, I'm stepping into this new job or I'm stepping into this my first year at school or stepping into this new relationship and. Where, where is He in that and so through the journaling process and through the debriefing process, we're trying to get a sense of, God is at work in my life. He's speaking to me. What do I think that is? So reflecting journaling and then getting in that pattern.

Devan Scollon:
And so, it's been, so I've had just the best summer of ministry.

Devan Scollon:
I also, I'm so sad it's over because, I just that, all that time with this team and to just hear the stories that are coming out of it and them sharing their journal entries and. I even, it was a really cool story, so we pulled out our journals for the first time and I'm trying to convince them that journaling is really worth it. And a lot of the girls were for it. But some of the guys looked at me like skeptical, like, I don't know. And then I was like, I'll journal with you guys. And so I ran down. I just grabbed an old journal that I thought was empty. And then I opened it and it was my journal. I just moved out and I was 18 and I was trying to figure out what faith looked like being out of my own. And I saw all these journal entries and I was like, I haven't touched this in like seven years. And so then it's cool that I got to open up that journal entry. And I just began to share some of the things that I'd been writing about. And again, the same questions that they're wrestling through, like I'm in this transition. I'm stepping into youth ministry for the first time, and I'm out on my own, and this is where I see God in that was kind of what the journal entry I read to them was. And so it's kind of cool how that, that happened, I don't know if God led that or coincidence. Seems so. But, yeah, it's been a really fruitful and fun summer.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. So it sounds like, Devan, that a big part of what happened with the young adults was teaching them to be attentive to God's work in their lives, like to, to observe it, to realize it. And yeah, that, that's, that's huge. And sets, sets a pattern for people to be observant and attentive of who God is and how he's at work. That just brings me to a question, and thank you guys for sharing that. And yeah, it really, really is exciting. And I can just tell, you know, and I'm sure our listeners can pick up to the, that you guys had a great summer. And honestly, it's unusual or like Ryan had this last this was last year for you, right, Ryan?

Ryan Beer:
Yeah. September to March.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. Yeah. So part of, part of your season was also affected by Covid, too.

Ryan Beer:
Yeah. The last couple meetings.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, sure, sure. But Covid restrictions don't really impact small group and coaching meetings like you're talking about other than maybe people need a mask or maybe they did some of those online. But you're not that you're not hindered from doing this kind of of relational ministry with people because because of Covid. I was going to ask you, Devan, like of those weekly meetings, like as you kind of went through the summer, did that roll into anything more frequent or were there meetings in between that happened informally or how did that did it basically stick with with just your Wednesday together?

Devan Scollon:
Yeah, so there were. We talked to kind of, when we did the lab on spiritual friendships, a lot of them just began meeting more intentionally, even online, to have specific moments of encouragement. So some of that would be like encourage them to, in their Bible reading because they're read through Mark every morning. And so, or just say like, hey, before we do this outdoor movie thing or whatever, let's spend the time in prayer, in the word. So there was some application happening that I was hearing about after the fact amongst the group. And then what was cool is I've been walking with about half this group for about three years and then the other half were, were kind of new. And so about halfway through the summer scene, that group had been around, involving them into, different activities that they're a part of and building those friendships. Yeah.

Rob Thiessen:
yeah, that's cool.

Rob Thiessen:
And whenever you talk about journaling, that's dear to my heart too. Over here in my cupboard, I don't know, I probably have about 15 journals that each represent a year of my life of journaling scripture. And because I think it probably was 15 or yeah, maybe close to 15 or 20 years ago that I started a life journaling habit from scripture. And yet today I started off a new, a new book, you know, and it's, it is, it's just such a brilliant, great way to keep you attentive. And it, it's like a it's like you're eating. It's like, you know, it's like food is to your physical body. Right. So it's not an all of life. But if you're not eating, you know, you're not going to do well, like you're just not going to thrive. And so it isn't the whole answer of the spiritual life that you have some kind of a time in the word of God. But if it isn't there, I don't know how, you know, it's like the then, the, the nutrients aren't, aren't in your system that you need and to it, to really experience God or like you said, Ryan, to, to listen to the Holy Spirit, you still got to have the word of God in your life that the spirit uses.

Rob Thiessen:
So, yeah, that's great. Hey, so one of the things that's huge about this generation is the impact of social media. Obviously, that, that's, you know, changed radically from, you know, since the iPhone came out, whatever. How many years ago was that? You guys know? Like ten years we've had this, this device with us. Like 2009 or something like that, yeah, yeah, I guess so, just a little over 10 years. So, so this is ubiquitous. It's with us. It's now like hours every day, you know, maybe many, many hours. I don't know. And, and now more and more even during covid, you know, we've had like these last five, six months that have had restricted our ability to see each other. How, how do you see social media impacting young adults and maybe both for the positive and the negative? How do you, how do you think about that when you think about discipleship?

Ryan Beer:
Well, I think if you think about it, one is that you're just, there's a constant flow of information. And I think when we're living in a culture now that is becoming increasingly more polarized and you see online interactions are,

Ryan Beer:
maybe a little bit more heated and not so friendly or kind to one another. You know, I think there's a piece of that where, there is this one author that we read.

Ryan Beer:
I can't think of his name, but he coined the term of Christians when it comes to social media and the polarization of society.

Ryan Beer:
It's like we're called to kind of like, live between the foxholes. And he was talking about like foxholes that you would have like in war.

Ryan Beer:
And there's one side over here and they're in their foxhole, their bunker and one side over here, and they're there in their foxhole and bunker. And it's like, how do you actually live in between that without getting sucked into that and to treat people with love and grace as a follower of Jesus. But also then there's like, how do you challenge things that you just know? You feel like that's not that's not truth, but how do you do that in a way that is like conversational and drawing people in? And I think that's a huge minefield for young adults to navigate right now is how do you, how do you live in a world that is increasingly asking you to choose sides? How do you, how do you navigate that? And how do you walk through that in a way that honors Jesus?

Rob Thiessen:
That's a great point, Bryan. That reminds me as, so last week, we were up in Penticton, my wife and I, and we were on the beach and of course, I take a few books along to read. And one of my children got me Ben Shapiro's book, The Right Side of History. And so I had Ben Shapiro's book sitting beside me on a towel on the beach.

Rob Thiessen:
And a group of three young adults walked behind us to set up their blankets. And I heard them start gagging and just judging Ben Shapiro, you know, OMG, like, I can't believe blah, blah, blah, you know?

Rob Thiessen:
And I just, you know, I sat there and I thought, wow, like, I like, I totally, I'm just, I'm being judged, you know? I mean, I can't, you just kind of go, I wonder, you know, you can't have a conversation or whatever. And I thought, what do they know? Like, maybe I don't agree with the book. Maybe I do. Like really, like is that how quickly. But it's because of social media, you know.

Rob Thiessen:
And I thought, how do they even know about, you know, some commentator, right wing commentator in the States? But, but they do. And you're right. It's like the world's got really polarized. So all of a sudden, yeah, people are in camps and that's a good way to describe it. They're in their foxholes. And then you realize, oh, you know, am I contributing to this or how do I how do I have a conversation in this climate? How interesting. I was, I was just, sat there on the beach baffled, thinking, wow, I didn't know I could, you could cause controversy that easily, you know? Anyway, Devan, how about you? What do you see about social media?

Devan Scollon:
Yeah, it's interesting. I have very limited with social media.

Devan Scollon:
I just have, you know, messenger. We have an Instagram for our youth group page, but I don't really follow anyone. But in the conversations, kind of what Ryan said is.

Devan Scollon:
It's like social media has become almost like the forum for political or theological discussion. But I guess what I would say discussion, I guess, opinion, so like I present in a profile picture or 200 words paragraph or whatever, like this is where I land. This is my perspective. But what doesn't follow is maybe a healthy discussion. What follows is this polarization or people end up in camps and there's like.

Devan Scollon:
And you don't see like, OK, that's a good point.

Devan Scollon:
I see where coming from, you see people have their ideas and they're forced into them more. And so, but this is even in the Christian community, it's like we just landed. And I agree with the people that I agree with and I disagree with these people. And I think I think for young adults, it's hard to navigate.

Devan Scollon:
I think you'll see different responses, you'll see. I think you'll see people are just tired and like any discussion on either end is just like I don't know what to do with this. And so I'm going to leave it. Or you see, like adoption of opinions that seem to be the most understanding or adoption isn't the most popular and say, OK, I'll go with that. And so it's, I think as Christians, there is there's a lot of work to be be in the mire, be in the, the mess of it and always discerning and navigating and wrestling through it, but that's so much work and exhausting. So why bother is maybe a response. Kind of a lot of what we see on social media. So I don't know, I think it's, it's tough, it's, it's messy, I think a big thing is, is teaching people it's OK, not to immediately land on an opinion or to land on an answer or it's OK to not feel the need to post something like, I don't know.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, yeah, I hear I hear what you're saying. Denis and I were out for a prayer walk this morning. We were talking about social media, too, and we're talking about education and how that education now and even college master's level. What you're taught is a lot how to how to research, like how to get answers. And everybody knows how to do that. It's so unbelievably easy. You just Google some thing and you can get answers. But the idea of critical thinking, like how to evaluate or think deeper, like you said, Devan, it's a pile of work. And honestly, it, it feels like our brains are getting bad at it. You know, it feels like we're not it feels like we take that we do the easier thing. We just Google for an answer or like you said, you just state your opinion rather than letting your thoughts be challenged by a person, respecting them, asking a deeper question. And, and I think, yeah, I think that's a huge thing. I think people are hungry for that kind of meaningful involvement because that's kind of what I hear heard Ryan saying as part of the, the discipleship journey you were taking. You got people face to face where they were asking deep questions about what's going on in my heart, shaping me, not just bite size answers or opinions. Do this. You should do that, you know, sort of answers from the outside.

Devan Scollon:
Yeah. I guess what I think about young adults, I think what's important is to have, there needs to be a foundation of like this is what I hold to be true, right. And that has to be the base of all these conversations. And when, I like I think you can tell when it's not because. A lot of these discussions, you can't remove morality from them. A lot of discussions like this is right. This is right. And when we as Christians, we don't hold to a foundation like a lot of things are messy and maybe, it's hard because if I'm a Christian, I have to have all the reasons for these things, which I think is ridiculous, but I think we do need to have, these are the core things that I hold to our true and I know these things are unmovable, and if I have that, I can now begin to navigate slowly. And so I think we need to instill that in young adults, like hold on to these cores, holding these truths as you navigate these messy and difficult situations. And don't lose sight of that, and I think as soon as that foundation is gone, it's going to be so much harder to have those conversations and be productive and fruitful.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah. What are a couple of those things for you guys, both of you? What are a couple of those core things? Foundational things that are starting points?

Ryan Beer:
I mean, I would say the person of Jesus and who he is and what he taught and the following of him is his core to who I am.

Ryan Beer:
And I would say who the church is

Ryan Beer:
And so I think that's, that's always a great place to start as a follower of Jesus, because we say exactly that.

Ryan Beer:
We follow Jesus. Well. I think a really great place to help young adults and young people is OK. Well, if you're saying that you follow Jesus. Well, what did Jesus teach?

Ryan Beer:
What, what, how did Jesus live? And what did he call his followers? How did he call us to live?

Ryan Beer:
And so, you know, and some of that comes back to what we were referencing before is like having a grounding of being in scripture and, and helping young people actually dig into scripture and discover like who is who is this Jesus and what did he teach and how did he live and what is he calling his followers to do?

Ryan Beer:
And I think if we, if we ground people in the gospel of Jesus and in the kingdom that he called us to be a part of seeing break forth in the here and now, then I think that's a really good place to ground ourselves.

Rob Thiessen:
Mm hmm. Yeah, go ahead.

Devan Scollon:
Well, just to go along with that, it all comes back to that. It's like Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. So I hold on to that. And, and you look at to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. So those are the core things that in the midst of all these conversations, that's what he wants me to hold on to. But those things, those are relational values that he's holding us to. They're not behavioral. They have massive implications for my behavior, but they're mainly relational. And so I think as we navigate social media or these different conversations. It's not like this is the right way because or the behavior or the right perspective and put it in those terms, the right way is walk with Jesus and Jesus is relationally minded. And so when I engage in these things or teach people to engage in things. Holdng on to the truth of Jesus, he's the way the truth and the life, but also upholding the values that Jesus is so intentional and cares about relationships and how we will walk with others. And so making sure that if I have a really strong opinion that I think this is right, that doesn't supersede the relational value that Jesus calls me to have with everyone. My people who agree with me disagree with me.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, yeah. I think that's, that's really a helpful perspective, kind of goes into the next question that I want us to chat with. Things that older Christians, pastors, maybe, or other people say and do that often turn young adults away from faith. And it seems to me, Devan, you just touched on something and I was saying you guys before, sometimes I get feedback from my children, my young adult children saying, yeah dad that's true. Sure, you've got a point there, but you've got to find a way to say that that isn't going to offend people. And, and part of the reason is because maybe I'm prone to just state something as if. No, this is true. Done deal, end of discussion and in a way that puts another person down or on the defensive and doesn't, isn't relationally sensitive, because I know when I observe it in other people, I see it right away, you know, and I think, gosh, ya know, does being a Christian give you the right to be a jerk like, I don't think so. And, you know, surely those things shouldn't belong together. Like, if you're following Christ and you think you're right about your doctrine, like, shouldn't you be behaving in a Christ like way? And so that's one thing that I think of. But what are other things that older Christians do? Or maybe where Christians take a stand on issues that turn young people off from the start or other? Maybe these are pitfalls, things to avoid. What would you say to to our listeners? You guys are in the trenches with young adults relating to them. What are what are things, warnings that you would give to to pastors and other other leaders in this area?

Ryan Beer:
I would say a couple of things. One is, I think.

Ryan Beer:
When we use language that perpetuates an us versus them mentality, I think that's unhelpful.

Ryan Beer:
I'm a Christian and I believe this and it almost comes off as sounding. Therefore, I am better than such and such a group or. Person who believes this like this, this, they're on the outside, I'm on the inside, I'm better than them, like almost a little bit. Like. Like you think of the older brother in the in the story of the prodigal son, right?

Ryan Beer:
Like I'm always been here and I've always been serving you God, I'm better than my brother.

Ryan Beer:
Who's this obviously this horrible sinner kind of mentality. Like, I think that kind of us versus them language that that elevates one's self to somehow being better. I think that, that's, that's an issue. I think a huge thing, though, too, is just I think young adults are very good at sniffing out in, inauthenticity. Where there's where there's people who are saying one thing, but their life is not, does not reflect it. One where there's a lack of authenticity, I think they just want nothing to do with that.

Rob Thiessen:
That's. I think that's true of people generally, but.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, especially with young adults who are looking for the real thing. Devan?

Devan Scollon:
Yeah, I was going to touch that.

Devan Scollon:
This authenticity is massive and, I think a big thing is.

Devan Scollon:
When we maybe, when we dismiss a wrestling point or when we think the answer is obvious or the theological calls like, it's just this and I, I, I've seen this in myself walking with younger teens is we've lived through it.

Devan Scollon:
And so now it's like, oh, well, I've lived through that I've experience that God's taught me that. So now it's the answer. So it's not that big of a deal. Or I walk with a teen and they're going through something thats really pressing on them. And to me it seems almost silly.

Devan Scollon:
And I fail to remember, like, oh, I remember when I was 14, that situation was like the biggest thing for me. And so. I think being able to step into people's wrestling situations, things that they're working through and allowing them, allowing that to be real for them and then being a guiding voice into that and giving space for that and trusting the process that they're going to, they're going to land those conclusions or a good answer or something.

Devan Scollon:
But being there to guide them and being honest and honesty there is. And allowing room for that, that wrestling for maybe an explosion of emotion for all those different areas.

Rob Thiessen:
Yeah, yeah, that's good. Also, maybe not a. I think all see are maybe.

And this like three easy steps or something like that or ten ways to become that kind of language can be.

Out of the gate, I don't know, maybe throw away some appeal, right?

So, you know, young people, I think, you know, we are growing up now in a generation where truth is relative, that's how people are taught and and at the very so they've accepted that there's total nuance and different sides to a coin. And it's not all black and white. They look at gray area.

And so when they come to, you know, a person is supposed to mentor them or represent Christian faith and that person maybe because they want to correct that relativism, just states things and categories of black and white and always right or wrong. It's just it comes across offensive to to people who who are used to saying, no, there's always a nuance. There's always the subjective. You're you're impacted by who you are in your environment. And so being what I hear you guys saying is you've got to be humble and recognize that there are other ways to look at things and just embrace a bit of the mystery, as you know, others might say, and give people space to to. Yeah. To process their stuff.

I was just I think there I guess it's it's really dependent, I think, because I think also I see it also I guess Christian young adults is a desire for someone to be just really real with them. Yeah. Even if it is offensive, I don't know. So I think of Mark Clark. I think a lot of young adults tune in to his sermons because he really lays it out unabashedly.

And so I think what you see there is there is an authenticity there that's like, OK, I know he's going to hold to that. And maybe I don't agree with everything that he says, but I know that he holds. He'll give it to me straight. And so there is room for that. But I guess where it comes down to is. If if I'm being offensive. Relationally, for the sake of being offensive, then I think I've missed the point, but if I'm holding on to a core truth and I'm sharing that because I believe it is true and someone finds that offensive. That was all that happened to Jesus all the time they found him offensive, but it wasn't because Jesus was ever rude or purpose. I mean. I guess he was it rude or tactfully trying to disrupt? I realize this, I guess, is how it was for people in his care, was for people was the core of him, but he held the truth so that even if they were offensive, the intentions were right. Yeah.

Although, interestingly enough, they were usually only offensive to religious people, right? Yeah. I think one of the things that I think has been helpful for me with people who have helped me wrestle with nuanced issues and therefore I try to take when I when I help young people work through nuanced issues, is he is presenting here all the different points of view and being really honest and open like here are the different points of view on this issue and some issues. There might even be several different ideas within the Christian camp, like not even getting beyond that and several within the Christian camp. And then I went on to say, and this is what I believe and this is why. And now knowing all that, like, can we walk together on a journey of helping you wrestle with what do you believe about that?

So it's a respectful approach to two different views. Hey, well, just as we wrap up, guys, there's been a really great discussion. But I wonder if you would would what what encouragement would you share with our listeners about simple steps that they could take to build a relationship with young adults like, let's say it's a pastor or a church leader listening and saying, yeah, OK, I don't know where to start. What what simple steps would you advocate or encourage them to to take to build a relationship with young adults?

I would just encourage that at the bat. I think that's the biggest thing we're missing. And if you look at studies of, like young adults drop out of church, I think it's a relational issue.

And it's like whether you're a pastor or leader or even a car, a part of a church, I would say reach out to women and say, hey, can I walk with you and be the initiator? And don't assume, oh, I don't know what I can offer. I just I just work in insurance or anything. Like, people need to see and hear. People just want to walk with someone and see this is where I see God in my life and in the most mundane because that's what people are trying to figure out. I live a mundane life 95 percent of the time. Where is God in this? And just having that relationship is so key and not feel like I have to be like I don't I don't I can't relate to them. You know, there's a 40 year age gap I think will be relevant. And it's that's a facade. Like we're all related to the same issues. Just the context is a little bit different. But the core stuff deep inside that are the same questions. And so I encourage I think as we as we're in our word and we'll walk with God, there's this important in our lives, but that also needs to be outpoured. And so.

I would I would say just find someone to say, hey, can I meet with you? Can I walk with you even once a month? And just listen and then share your stories, here's where God is faithful, the faithful in my life, and I think a lot of the nuanced issues will actually get really focused. And you'll see the.

The core things come out, it's like, oh, all these different things, but then when you really get in conversation, it's just like I want to know if God's in my life and I want to know what that means for my relationships, my schooling, where am I going? And then the message is simple. It's like, man, God is faithful. He actually is for you. He's going to walk with you, is teaching you things and being there for those moments.

So I think there's definitely room for training and all this, but I think it's simpler than we make it out to be. And so to step on relationship, share your story with God that in your life and.

Yeah, that's good. Devin Ryan.

Yeah, I would say start by just being curious, like take a genuine interest in their life, begin to ask them about things in their life, like what they're doing, how, how school's going like just like like sometimes I think in our culture we've lost the art of conversation and just like actually being genuinely interested in somebody, like often we are engaging. If we are engaging in conversation, there's an agenda to it. And I think just like being genuinely curious and showing that you're interested in them and that you're for them. And if they see that you genuinely care for them and and are curious about them, I think then you can start the relationship. And I've seen that with people, you know, even who are elderly, like they come across it.

And the desire from the beginning as a senior is to speak blaesing over this young person and just to say, hey, I'm for you, how can I be like we had one person in our church and they're amazing at this. They just come up to young adults and they ask them, how are things going in their life? And then they just say, like like, how can I pray for you? And and now, you know, when young adults, they've moved away recently, which was kind of sad. But, you know, before when young adults, when they're young adults would see them coming, they would smile because they're like, here comes a person who's genuinely interested in me, who genuinely is praying for me.

And, you know, they were like a senior. They're retired. But the young people love to connect with them because they're like, here is a person who genuinely cares for me. And I think it's got to start there. If it comes from a genuine love for people, you can get past the past the barriers up.

We're from different generations and we may have different thoughts from things. It's got to be a relational thing.

Yeah, yeah. That's so good. That reminds me, you know, today in my office here on my Columbia Bible College and that they're just starting. Students will come back next week. And a couple of years ago I thought maybe I could do something to but to chat with students who might be interested. So I kind of I don't know. I can't remember whether I put something in the bulletin here for their chapels or something that I would be available to to talk with students who were interested. And I got like zero interest rate. So nobody and so I didn't do anything that year. I thought, Mom, I don't know, maybe maybe I didn't word it right or something. But what I hear you saying is, you know, Rob, don't be such a dolt waiting for people to ask you. Like, just I go to the cafeteria over a lunch hour where they're eating, sit down at a table and be interested in their lives. Right. And I've done that occasionally, but I'm going to make a commitment that this year I'm going to do that on a regular basis. I'm just going to go down to the lunch room here and maybe it'll be total buzz buzzkill at the table or I sit down, I don't know. But I will make an effort to ask some curious questions of where young adults are at and see where it takes me. But this has been really, really good and I hope all of our listeners are going to take to heart a hopeful message here that there are relationships and mentoring opportunities just waiting to happen. But let's take the initiative and reach out and ask questions and see where the Lord takes these relationships. So thank you guys for taking the time. And the Lord bless you and your ministry.

And to all of our listeners, thanks again for giving us this hour to spend together and pray that God's peace will be with you, will look forward to our next time together on the on the podcast. Bye for now.

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