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Youth discipleship has to take the context of young people seriously
Many young Christians growing up in Britain meet and befriend people of different faiths, particularly Muslims. The church has, so far, done very little in the way of addressing this in its discipleship of young people. Youth Encounter exists to change this and to bring issues of meeting people of other faiths onto the national Christian youth work agenda.
Jesus commands Christians to love both their neighbours (Matthew 22: 39) and their enemies (Matthew 5: 44)
However Christians might view the Muslims they see and meet in Britain we are under a direct commend to love them. At Youth Encounter we are committed to helping Christians think through what these commands mean in their situation and to help them be obedient to them.
Jesus declared that the greatest commandments were to love the Lord and to love our neighbours (Matthew 22:34-40). The two commands are interlinked not separate, therefore we are committed to help Christian young people grow in their live for God, and as a consequence grow in their love for their Muslim peers.
Meeting and listening to Muslims is for all people not just professional theologians
There are some folk who say that inter-faith dialogue is so spiritually dangerous that only those who are well established in their own faith should undertake it. We recognise that meeting people who disagree with you, and who might want you to change can be perceived as risky. However, avoinding meetings is not an option for Christians serious about discipleship. Firstly, Jesus didn't wait until his disciples had been following him for years before he sent them out. From early on in their Christian walk they were sent out to mix with and minister to people who had very different values and beliefs to them. Secondly, it's happening whether we think its a good idea or not. For those Christians who go to schools where there are pupils of other faiths, inter-faith encounter is just part of everyday life.
As we said at the top we're committed to taking the context of Christian young people seriously, so we have to help them think about how they relate to people of other faiths. The Faith and Young People project helps Christians and Muslims learn how to express aspects of their faith to others of faith in ways that are peaceful. Finally this might not be the biggest issue. There are some Christian young people who become Muslims (just as there are some young Muslims who become Christians).
Jesus called his followers to tell others about him and to live as his disciples (Matthew 28: 18-20)
Jesus gave clear instructions to his followers to share the good news about him and his message with people they met. At Youth Encounter we take this call seriously, but we believe it should ALWAYS be done in an attitude of love and humility. Never from a position of arrogance or with any hint of coercion.
We are open about what we do and why were doing it
At Youth Encounter we are not into having hidden agendas. Thats why we've got links from here to the Scripture Union website so you can see the type of organisation that we are a part of. Whether we are running Youth Encounter events for Christians or Faith and Young People events for Christians and Muslims we always explain what were about AND STICK TO IT. And on this website you can find out what the whole Youth Encounter project is about, the stuff that's about mission and the stuff that's about encounter.
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