Identity is defined as “the individual characteristics by which a person or thing is recognized”¹ Shaping of identity is a huge part of the years of a concrete-thinker – and the question we want to dive into over the next few posts is what does it look like for the Gospel to shape the identity of a student? This post is going to break down 4 key parts of the Gospel Identity we adhere to – before we break them down at a concrete level. Again – this is not some newfound way of thinking but a conversation to help start a process to equip truths at a concrete level for pastors, leaders, and parents of students.
We define learner here at NCC with the following phrase – “As Disciples of Jesus, we embrace a life of learning his ways and living them in obedience to all he has commanded.” Titus 2 reminds us that the Gospel not only saves us but it also trains us – to be trained means you are in a role where you are learning and growing.
In our next post we will dive deeper into what it looks like for a concrete-thinker to be a learner. Because they are many things they could learn – an hour pouring over texts studied in a master’s level theology class would not be time well spent for a 6th grade boy. However – a desire to learn who God is and how to study His word and walk with him – is a good starting spot.
How can we equip concrete thinkers to learn without expecting them to be at a level beyond their formation?
As Children of God we love one another as the children of God and others as the lost children of God that we once were, in hope that they might become the children of God.
In helping concrete thinkers understand family means rewriting their understanding. Some have never had a father figure – so God as Father is misconstrued and has to be reimagined. Being loved infinitely is a challenge to communicate to the abandoned – and viewing others as family which you love involves rewriting a self-centered culture that concrete thinkers are immersed in. John 1 reminds us that those “who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.”
What barriers to understanding family of God do we need to break down for a concrete thinker?
As Jesus was sent to redeem us we live as sent out ones to redeem those that have not turned to him.
One of the big issues with finding identity as missionary involves what we have misinterpreted a missionary to be. Growing up a missionary was someone who moved to a foreign country to tell others about Jesus and people would pay to send missionaries. And sometimes we would go for a week to be a “missionary.” Instead – we are all missionaries whether we are near or far, in our own neighborhoods or across the world. We are just as much called to go overseas as well as to our neighbors.
How can we equip concrete thinkers to be a missionary in their daily rhythms?
As Christ has served us we in return serve others and embrace an identity as a servant.
Finding identity as servant means tearing down barriers of “I go someplace or to an event to serve” rather than “I identify daily as one who serves others.” Philippians 2 Paul reminds us that Jesus “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.” A servant is an act of humility – fighting against the American self-centered, serve yourself and make yourself happy mentality.
In what ways can we walk with concrete thinkers to serve always versus at specific events?