Monday, 5 June 2017
Writer Rohan Waters
On the first weekend of March ths year, 110 VCE students and thirty leaders from across Victoria gathered together in Creswick to study the Bible and plan for a year of spiritual challenge and growth. In May they came together again, this time in the city to explore mission in urban contexts. In between these retreats, they meet weekly in small groups, and every student has a mentor who supports them individually in their Christian life.
So why are these young people bucking the trend when their age group is leaving the church?
Part of the answer is that they are doing a course called Veta Morphus which enables them to invest in their Christian growth and gain credit for their VCE at the same time. Rather than pulling back from their church and ministry to focus on their studies, by enrolling in Veta Morphus they can do both.
Ben Evers, former Generations Pastor at Berwick Church of Christ and now State Coordinator for Veta Morphus puts it like this:
"VCE is such a critical time in a young person's life. I don't have to tell you how many young people drop out of our churches in the transition from school to university and work, and it's not because the Gospel is inadequate; it's because they are not formed effectively in it. The reason Veta Morphus is so valuable and, frankly, why I have taken on this job, is that it opens up the cultural space for VCE students to do the intensive spiritual work that they need to do to fully grasp their faith for themselves. While everything in our culture is screaming at them to get the right score so that they can get the right job to live the perfect life in the perfect suburb, Veta is sending them back into their Bibles and out into mission, surrounded by Christian mentors. Because it's accredited as part of their VCE it means that they are accountable, and they have the time available to do it properly. Every young person should have the chance to do this."
Although most students complete the course in Christian schools, the course can also be run in local churches.
"We strongly encourage churches to consider running a Peer Group. I did it at Berwick and it was brilliant. Students from any school, including governement schools, can do the course through their church and it will count in their VCE. We'd love to see more churches offering this to students in their local schools."
Ben is available to speak with anyone who is interested in doing the course or running it at their local church.
"Students are thinking about their VCE subjects in June, so now is a great time to start preparing."
Veta Youth is a Mission Agency of Churches of Christ. Fnd out more at veta.org.au.
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