Fancy sanctuaries, lofty steeples, clanging bells, air conditioned halls, multi media projeectors and clean sound systems. The churches are doing well... some even will soon implement debit machines so that if you left the cheque book or the cash at home you won't have to worry about not getting to pay your tithe, or make your offerings. Are we really effective? How is that measured and determined then? Are we scratching where no one is itching? Are we barking up the wrong tree?
Recently, I had the chance to minister at three camps this past summer. It brought me face to face with some harsh realities. Many churches say that they are youth focuses, some don't even care that the majority of the Jamaican population is youth, their budgets do not betray the supposed concern for youth and reaching and keeping youth. Its mere lip service if so much. While some are busy fighting for fiefdoms and kingdoms and turfs the youth are dying. Most feel so out of place. With the vast majority of them having no formal accountability structure, they feel like sheep among wolves with all the temptations they have to contend with. Then the same adults who themselves have no practical experience in navigating the stormy youthful years as a christian, since most of them became christians in adult life ( having already lived up the life of sinful youth and running hard after youthful passions and desires), these same adults will scorn the struggling youth and pontificate with their sermons and scoldings. They will teahc them how to shout and speak in the tongues (to borrow words from Kirk Franklin),but fail to teeach them how to live when the tongue is done.
I saw such pain agony that had been trapped inside for years in these young persons, manifesting itself in promiscuous sex, substance abuse, gang violence, rebellion, suicdal tendencies etc. The weight of the burdens from which these campers had to be relieved was overwhelming. Too many of the young ladies had been sexually absues by persons they trusted, yes even members of the clergy!
I ask us again, are we reaching the youth of today?
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