Fri | Aug 18, 2017

'The Church has to meet young people in cyberspace'

Published:Saturday | March 26, 2016 | 3:00 AM
PHOTO BY ORANTES MOORE Brother Gregory Scott of Glad Tidings Church of The First Born in Port Maria, St Mary.

PORT MARIA, St Mary:

Telecoms engineer Gregory Scott is a lifelong member of the Glad Tidings Church of The First Born in Port Maria, St Mary, who believes that the best way to attract a younger generation of worshippers is through social media marketing.

Scott is aware that the Church in Jamaica is struggling to engage with young people and insists that the only way to connect with them spiritually is in the environment where they are most prevalent - cyberspace.

Speaking earlier this week, he told Family and Religion: "If we want to build and strengthen our communities, we need to make Christianity look workable. I'm a Christian, but first and foremost, you should see that God is with me before I can tell you that He can be with you.

"You can't be a pop-down Christian trying to tell people that Christianity is good. If you are a pop-down Christian, how are you going to get the young people? If we want more people to come into the Church, we have to make it look practical, like something that is working, and drop the Eurocentric aspects.

"The boys nowadays don't wear their pants the way I do, but what are you going to tell them? That they mustn't come to church because of their pants? I'm not saying they should drop them past their knees, but they're going to wear clothes that look different from what you and I wear.

"Did you see how Andrew [Holness] won the election? He used cyberspace, and the Church is going to have to do something similar and put their finger and thumb on the knob that clicks with this generation.

"Andrew used social media, and if Christianity is to have any impact with young people, we have to be in with the t'ing. It's like what Jamaica Youth for Christ used to say years ago: 'Anchored to the rock, but geared to the time'."

MINISTERS ROLE

Scott insists that ministers and other religious leaders have a significant role to play in helping to develop greater community cohesion throughout St Mary, but believes they are restricted by the ecclesiastical immaturity of their congregations.

He explained: "If more church people stood up and took their rightful position in the kingdom and organisation, the leaders would have more time to amalgamate and bring us together.

"But they have to be doing too much spiritual nappy-changing and bottle washing when they should be doing spiritual marriages with their members in business, in the community, and in politics. If the leaders were able to do less spiritual babysitting, they would have more time for spiritual integration."

Scott added: "I committed [to Christ] nearly 40 years ago, and even though I have no position in the church, I still feel I have authority and that I am comfortable answering for the church. We need to have less [immaturity], so our leaders can take us home and integrate our communities, and then we will have a greater impact on the world."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com