'The Church will soon be a place only for the old'
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should grow, and when he is old he will not depart from it." While many parents send their children to Sabbath/Sunday School and steer them in the right direction, they have departed from the training they received. It has not gone unnoticed that the number of young people who are interested in, or actually attend church nowadays is dwindling. In the past, children could be seen making their way to Sabbath or Sunday school even if their parents were not attending church.
"Not many young people are in the Church right now because they see Christianity as having too much of a strict set of rules which must be followed, otherwise they will not be seen as true Christians," said Pastor Errol Grey of the Mount Zion Apostolic Church in Beckford, Kraal, Clarendon.
"I'm not saying that we are to bend the rules of God to suit anyone, but if we as mature Christians and preachers of the gospel can be a little more lenient when it comes on to engaging the young people, we can get them interested in church again," Grey said.
He added: "Because they see Christianity as being 'too rigid' they stray because its easier for them to gravitate to negativity. Sometimes it's because of the strict principles of Christianity whey we lose our young people to other worldly forces. I've seen where young people are being pressured to live holy, but they don't understand what that means so we need to teach them righteousness until they can manage."
'ENGAGE THEM AT THEIR LEVEL'
He told Family and Religion that members should at least try to engage them at their level and then bring them up to where they need to be. "The young ladies look and say they are being told to wear long skirts all the time or to cover their hair all the time even if they are going to work. All these things are manmade systems and is to be blamed for pushing young people out of the church."
The clergyman lamented that churches have a dwindling population of young people these days because of the plans of the enemy. "The young people are the future generation and if the devil is allowed to get in their minds, he will destroy them completely. If we allow such a thing to happen, then who will carry on the work of God when this present older generation is no more," he questioned.
"We need the mature members to offer some amount of direction and guidance to our young people who have strayed. Many young people are influenced by their peers and we are quick to give up on them but there is still hope. So if you see a young person behaving a particular way try to approach them and offer guidance."
"I think we as older people need to do more to inject our values in the young people, teach them that church is a good place to go to worship and fellowship with each other in the presence of God. Designing sermons geared toward captivating young people to engage them would make them more interested in church," Grey reasoned.
He added: "The Bible says young man I call upon you because you are strong but soon the church will become a place where only old people go to worship.