CHICAGO, IL (May 24, 2010) – Intersect, a new in-depth curriculum based on the successful Youth Nexus high school leadership project at North Park Theological Seminary, is now available for free download.
Since 2004, selected student leaders from across the country have spent a week in Chicago learning from scholars and then putting that knowledge to work through various activities in the cities. Participants studied spiritual disciplines, engaged in compassion, mercy, and justice ministries, and explored the call of God on their lives.
“The overarching purpose of the curriculum is to help students make connections – with themselves, others in the denomination and the larger work in the kingdom of God,” says, Youth Nexus Coordinator Bob Auger, who spearheaded the year-long curriculum project.
“Youth Nexus combines total discipleship ministry,” says Marti Burger, director of youth and family ministries in the Department of Christian Formation of the Evangelical Covenant Church. “It is a great gift to the Covenant. If I had to select one opportunity for youth – youth nexus would be it.”
The Intersect curriculum is divided into four sections:
- “Formed by God’s Story” explores how God forms people through relationships with others and the church, and how a person’s formation can impact the lives of others.
- “Being God’s People” looks at what it means to be a God-follower and the impact that Christians can have on the world, with a focus on privilege, immigration, justice and poverty.
- “Bearing God’s Image” focuses on restoring the value people have for God’s image and imprint in their own lives, relationships, the church and planet.
- “Hearing God’s Call” examines what “call” means, how it is discerned, ways to test it, and partner with others to live it.
Each section is structured as a four-week series. That arrangement provides the opportunity for students to delve into topics and engage in significant discussions without the series becoming too lengthy.
More than 20 people – including professors, ministers, church lay members, and university students – contributed material.
Spiritual director Helen Cepero writes that journaling can help a person answer God’s question, “Where are you?” “One of the best gifts of a journal is that it gives you a place to show up. You may discover, as you write, where you actually are,” explains Cepero. She adds, “When you know where you are, you may also see what is true, hear your own voice, gain an understanding of something that has troubled or puzzled you or savor again a joy that might have slid right by you almost unnoticed.”
A second-year seminary student writes about his experience in “The Wonderfully Imperfect Church,” saying, “ If God can continue to be faithful in spite of the Church’s occasional bungling of Christ’s message, then God can continue to work through my imperfections and weaknesses as a member of this body of Christ.”
John Tanagho, a Chicago attorney, addresses injustice, describing it as “ the abuse of power to take from others the good things that God has given them – their life, their liberty, their dignity.”
The material is highly adaptable. “One of our goals in developing this curriculum was that it could be modified easily for different church groups and contexts,” says Auger.
The curriculum includes a leader’s guide, student material, and activities to supplement what already is listed. Youth Nexus and the curriculum are funded through the Lilly Endowment as part of the seminary’s Making Connections initiative.