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Rev. Dr. Chris B. Hughes is a pastor in the United Methodist Church, who has worked with youth and young adults all of his professional life. He has been an invaluable resource in the making of disciples for the church. But he has noticed that which the entire church has noticed: the United Methodist Church in the United States has steadily been losing membership. The young disciples who are being baptized into the church at puberty are leaving as college students and not returning.
Consecration 3X3 is an attempt to remedy this problem through the purposeful contemplation of the process by which the church makes disciples in the first place. Throughout the text, Chris advocates for a more purposeful, meaningful, dedicated, longer process whereby both young students, along with their parents, enter into more meaningful, directed study into the reasons, meaning, calling and resulting ministry of disciples.
Hughes wrote this book in workbook form with thought-provoking questions to consider in chapters one thru seven. Beginning with chapter 7, he introduces an alternative plan from the prevailing “status quo” of making disciples of the young people in a church.
This three-part plan begins with youth in the 7th grade and ends with graduating seniors. But, the ending is not really an ending but a commissioning for the Seniors to begin their ministry into the world. Hughes labels these different steps or cycles as “Get Ready”, “Get Set” and “Go”. Each cycle is a 12-week study for the youth, parents, and other adult volunteers in the process. The first week begins with a retreat for the participants.
For those unwilling to extend the program out to six years, he offers several alternative plans. All of these plans utilize the Credo confirmation books, which are available from Cokesbury.
This appears to be a very well written book detailing the problems with the current system of confirmation in the United Methodist Church. A six-year plan may be more difficult for the smaller churches who have only one or two pastors, who may be moved frequently because of the itinerant system in the United Methodist Church. But that is the only problem that I see, and certainly this can be overcome by using the shorter systems.
I recommend this book for Youth Directors, Pastors and students in Seminary to challenge our system of “we have always done it this way.”