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Come As You Are — A Conversation with Jen and Sam Norton
Come As You Are — A Conversation with Jen and Sam Norton

Faith Matters

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Come as you are a conversation with Jen and Sam Norton

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We’re excited to bring you an episode with a genuine ‘lift-where-you-stand story’ of a family in the UK. Sam and Jen Norton have served young people in the church for more than twenty years and most recently as FSY Session Directors in London. FSY stands for “For the Strength of Youth”, and refers to the week-long summer events held for youth around the world.

As FSY leaders, Jen and Sam began facing difficult questions about how to include and support youth with a range of perspectives and lifestyles. They wanted to affirm the wisdom of the standards set by the Church for youth; they also noticed that many youth were driven away  the fear of exclusion they would experience if they fell short. As a result, many youth would drop out of Church activity before giving a chance to learn what it’s really about.

Through prayer, open conversations, deep listening, and creativity, Jen and Sam were taken on a truly transformative journey; they found their way to loving the younger generation more than they thought possible, and learning how to really champion them and their unique spiritual gifts. In short, they believe in believing in the next generation and giving them a more gentle on-ramp to following Jesus and reminds them that perhaps the most important word in the sacrament prayer and baptismal covenant is ‘willing’. Their story will be valuable to anyone working with youth, or who is interested in blending top-down and bottom-up approaches to Church callings.

If you want more of what you hear in this conversation, Sam wrote a book about it called Come as You Are: Creating Space for the Rising Generation to come to Jesus Christ. The book aims to be an accessible guide to parents, leaders and teachers and invites us all to rethink about how we support our young people’s faith discovery.

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