An idea I strongly agree with and hope gains traction from Kenda Creasy Dean’s book Almost Christian is that one of the finest gifts the church can bequeath young people is a creed to claim. A creed is a clear, succinct summary of a group’s beliefs. I grew up in a tradition that, every week, had the congregation stand and recite the Apostles’ Creed, or Nicene Creed. I believe it served me well to have that baseline of what it was that my church held as important. I came to adopt that creed as my own as a fifteen-year-old.
These days, it isn’t often that I find a church that takes time to stand as a body and recite a creed. In many of our North American liturgies, the confession of faith or recitation of a creed has been jettisoned. Regardless of whether it is part of our public worship, are we helping young people be exposed to, memorize, and come to value the historic creeds of our common Christian faith? Are our young people conversant in the creeds?
Many of the creeds have a narrative approach, telling the story of the central figure of our faith, Jesus Christ. A great place to start in exposing young people to creeds is in the New Testament. Many believe one of the oldest Christian creeds is found in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. A combination of teaching this passage, reciting it together during times of worship, and returning to it as an example of a succinct traditional statement of our common Christian faith is one approach to helping your students find a creed to claim. You might also find it helpful to expose your young people to the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed.
Are the young people in your church receiving the gift of a creed to claim? What are some ways you have found helpful in giving the teens in your church a creed to claim?
[Photo credit: lwr]