The first piece of inspiration dates back to the ’80s. The work of Scripture Union staff over the years to produce ‘Starting Out’ was groundbreaking in providing a simple, easy-to-read booklet to help young people think about beginning or continuing to follow Jesus. A distinctive of this work was the ‘thank you, sorry, please’ prayer … a simple, yet effective pattern of prayer for beginning and continuing friendship with Jesus.
The writers of this booklet also recognised the need to simply address the basic questions of:
- Who am I in relation to God?
- Who is God?
- Who is Jesus?
- Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?
- How can we be friends and followers of Jesus?
Exploring these ideas will also be the challenge of 3friends.
‘Starting Out’ also began by exploring the idea ‘You are special and important to God!’ celebrating our unique relationship with Creator God.
3friends has adapted this idea more specifically to: ‘We all matter to God. We are each welcomed by God. We are all loved by God.’
3friends also utilises a key ‘Starting Out’ question: ‘Are any of these three friends just like you right now?’ thus encouraging a level of engagement with the ideas being expressed by Aurthur, Peta, and Chloe.
The Thinking Teen
Secondly, the investigations and challenges undertaken by the three young people depicted in this resource … Arthur, Peta, and Chloe … are a reflection of three different styles of investigation. These styles have been inspired by observations and a study of Dave Benson accessible now as an online paper … The Thinking Teen published on Jan 20, 2010. An exploration, evaluation, and application of three apologetic strategies in commending the Bible to contemporary western adolescents. Dave Benson
His work suggests there is at least three typical teenage responses to the Bible. These being those of an antagonistic atheist, an untrusting sceptic and a confused seeker. Benson uses the work of Francis Schaeffer, Lee Strobel and Rob Bell respectively to challenge each of these common world views. According to Benson, these theologians offer distinct voices commending the Bible in the market place of ideas.
The challenge here is to appropriate something of this approach for households of faith as well as faith communities who intentionally faith-mentor those of a much younger age than teenagers.
Will it work?
The result of forming an approach and developing a style for each of the 3 friends, Arthur, Peta, and Chloe will be a construct. This will have its strengths and weaknesses. Hopefully this will allow participants, both faith mentors and young people, to identify with one character in one context and perhaps a different character in another.
All these complex understandings! Yet simply explored! Again, there’s the challenge!
At any point of this more theoretical side of the discussion, feel free to swing over to 3friends adventures and check out how helpful this resource will be for you in your context.