Monique Guy's herculean task
BAILEY'S VALE, St Mary:
As National Youth Director for the Emmanuel Faith Church of God (EFCG), Monique Guy concedes that with each passing day, it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and keep young people in any of the ministry's six churches across St Mary and St Ann.
Her task is herculean, but not impossible and Guy is confident that employing a simple, but effective social-media strategy would rapidly boost the EFCG's membership among teens and 20-somethings.
Speaking from the church's headquarters in Bailey's Vale, St Mary, Guy told Family and Religion: "It all comes down to fulfilment of prophesy where [2 Timothy 3] says that '...Men shall love themselves and seek after vanity,' so we expect these things to happen.
"The devil has things out there to attract young people, so it's for us as the church to find ways to draw them in and show them the direction they should go. Right now, social media is the biggest thing because that is what is taking over the world.
"You don't see anybody without their phones. Even at the movies, when people are supposed to be watching the film, they are on their phones. Social media is something the church definitely needs to get into.
"Also, I'd like to see us do some outreach work. If you follow the Bible, you can't go wrong and [Luke 14:23] says: 'Go out on the highways and byways' because you have to go out for what you want.
"It's for us to take ourselves out of this foundation because the church is not this building. The church is us, the people, so we as the church have to go out and try to get people to come in."
The drastic rise in St Mary's murder rate over the past six weeks suggests the parish is in desperate need of support, and Guy's outreach project might just be the right solution. She said of the killings: "It's the last days and as [Peter 5:8] says: '...the devil is walking about like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour'.
"It's for us, the church, to come together and try to turn things around because as [2 Chronicles 7:14] says: 'If my people, who are called by my name, will just turn from their wicked ways, then I will heal the land.' So it's for us to come together as a church and seek God's face, so he can turn this land around."
Another issue concerning Guy is the apparently increasing prevalence of homosexuality. The 32-year-old evangelist explained: "It's not just St Mary or Jamaica, it's the world that is accepting homosexuality.
"We still stand by and preach the undiluted gospel that says homosexuality is an offence against God. I don't believe we should totally reject homosexuals because God is love, and love is God, but we have to show them the right way to go.
"The EFCG celebrates its 48th anniversary this month and Guy is confident the church will continue to mature and develop over the next half century.
She said: "I assume my desire is the same as everyone else's, and that is to see this church expound more because, right now, we are only based in St Mary and St Ann. In the next 48 years, I would like to see us in all the parishes, and even with some branches overseas."