This summer we hit a milestone in the Karafanda home. The baby is no longer in need of swimmies. She's now able to explore the pool as the fish that God created her to be.
Of course this is a little unnerving for me as a mom. Each time she jumps I hold my breath. She's still so fragile. I worry. But I know that she's got make this step if she's going to become a Gold Medalist (or at least have some safe fun in the pool).
In the church, we've become a bit over-protective with our youth and their faith. We tend to keep swimmies on them for too long before we let them go out and swim free. And unfortunately we are losing a larger number of our young adults in the process.
The transition from youth to adult in our culture is marked by milestones and rites of passage. The transition from youth to adult in the church is not existent. There are some church that do a great job with Graduation Sunday, Confirmation, and College Ministries. But it isn't consistent between churches.
Here are some examples of the "swimmies" we keep on our youth:
- Giving 3rd graders Children's Bibles and never replacing them with youth and/or adult Bibles
- Having Children's Church during the entire worship service with no transition for them to get accustomed to "big" church.
- Having youth worship services with contemporary music and then never incorporating contemporary worship into any adult worship services (especially once those youth are adults)
- Confirming youth as members of the church and never giving them leadership positions.
- Keeping generations separate in churches (youth can learn a lot from older and younger people)