In chapter four, Kenda turns explicitly theological, arguing that “Catechesis shapes missional imaginations, which help us recognize God’s activity in Jesus Christ and in us, as Christ calls us to participate in his redemptive work in the world.” She writes that the gospel in ineluctably missional, and that teens who are formed by a gospel imagination should also be missional. This happens by,
- Claiming a Creed: Teens need not only to have a general, warm feeling about Jesus, but must be able to articulate what, exactly, is special and unique about Jesus.
- Belonging to a Community: Teens need the “connectedness” that is fostered exclusively in “authoritative communities.”
- Pursuing a Purpose: Teens need to live in a “morally significant universe” in which their good decisions have good consequences and their bad decisions have bad consequences.
- Harboring Hope: Teens are pulled out of moralistic, therapeutic deism by hope (that God controls the future), which provides “highly devoted teenagers with a resource for getting through the present.”
Kenda goes on to explicate that “highly devoted teenagers” live out their faith and show that outwardly. She then points to the results of the Exemplary Youth Ministry Study at Luther Seminary for a list of attributes that can be found in these highly devoted teens.
For me, I come back to the question I asked earlier: Is it even developmentally possible for adolescents to articulate a creed, commit to an authoritative community, pursue a purpose, and harbor hope? My gut and experience tell me that they can do 3 and 4, but most probably cannot pull off 1 and 2.
What do you think?