The average urban youth today is distracted by a lot. The Internet and social media appear to be taking the place of real engagements. The average young person, especially in the developed world, spends more time in front of a screen than actual physical people. This development has impacted the way they interact in ways that are not always ideal.
Some studies show that 50 to 80 percent of social media users are more likely to be flexible in their approach to faith and faith-based practices. Today’s youth are exposed to a vast cache of ideologies, many of which conflict with faith-based values.
Correctly grooming the next generation of leaders towards the values that make for faith and engagement among youths has become critical. The future of the world may depend on it. In this article, we’ll try to proffer helpful tips that leaders of faith-based organizations can apply to foster faith and engagement among youths in their communities.
Tips to Deepen Faith and Engagement Among Community Youths
1. Be Original
Leaders must realize that today’s young people are more intelligent than ever before. If you will engage youths and get them interested, you must be authentic. Young people today can easily recognize a phony. The idea should be to create real, meaningful connections. Faith-based organizations must be structured towards discussing what faith is and means.
Thus, young people must be given room to ask questions and express doubts about what they’ve heard. Faith leaders should also be willing to admit that they do not have all the answers instead of invoking unknown mysteries.
2. Find the Youths
So many things compete for the attention of young people. Faith is not often on the priority list. Leaders must devise ways of taking matters of faith to young people. Find out where the youths in your community spend their time. Leaders can organize special faith events in places that where youth love to hang out.
Organizing events like these may require some ingenuity. For example, hosting a charity event at a popular restaurant or local park gives you an opportunity to meet young people. So while you all are talking about grills that you also can use as a convection oven or other matters relating to the community, you can raise issues of faith. Young people must see faith advocates as normal and relatable.
3. Take Advantage of Technology
We are in the age of technology, and everyone must get on with the program. Faith leaders must learn to engage young people of their target communities with the tools with which they are most comfortable. The Internet and social media are multi-pronged tools. Leaders of faith-based organizations must devise ways of harnessing the Internet and social media to foster faith and engagement among the young members of their communities.
Commendably, blogs, videos, and social media are already being used by leaders. However, leaders can step up with these efforts. Leaders can hire faith-inclined influencers, for example, to promote certain types of engagements among community youths. Leaders can also create faith-based online forums targeted towards members of a community.
Leaders must note that the idea is not to get young people more entrenched in a virtual world. Instead, it brings them to a place where they can see, appreciate, and imbibe faith-based values. The use of technology here should only be a means to an end.
4. Be Patient with Youths
Patience is a core virtue of most faith-based organizations. Leaders must have copious amounts of patience when trying to engage young people. Many young members of your community will be resistant to your initiatives. Leaders should expect this and be ready to keep working at it. Cultivating faith and engagement among the youths in your community will most probably not happen at once. It would help if you communicated to the youths that you are willing to give them time to make their decisions. They should know that your organization is always there for them and will be ready whenever they are.
5. Reach Out to Other Leaders
It may be more effective to share the burden of cultivating faith among youths with leaders of similar organizations in and around your community. You may accomplish more if you seek the input of other leaders. You can also employ willing young people to help you devise programs and strategies for reaching out to their fellows.
Getting the youths of your community interested in faith-based activities may not be the most straightforward task in the world. However, the rewards are immense. Following these tips will help you cultivate and deepen faith and engagement among young people in your community.