The Bible is the most fascinating book
ORACABESSA, St Mary:
A brief discussion with a group of teenage Christians last week revealed that although churches in Jamaica are generally struggling to convert young people and attract new members, there are, nevertheless, still a large number of children and young adults who are both committed to Christ and well-versed in biblical texts.
According to members of the Youth Mass Choir at the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Oracabessa, St Mary, the Bible is one of the most fascinating, thought-provoking, and inspirational books available because it comprises a wide range of motivational allegories and stories.
Davia Green, a bright and well-spoken 11-year-old from Days Mountain, told Family and Religion: "I decided to become a Christian two years ago because I love Jesus and want Him to be by my side all of the time.
"I like to read the Bible, and my favourite scripture is John 3:16: 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'
"I like that because it tells you God loves and cares for us so much that He sent his Son to save us. That's important to me because it fills my heart with joy every time I read it."
Similarly, her friend, Shaneka Lewis, remembers becoming a Christian four years ago in an attempt to develop a closer relationship with God.
Lewis said: "I think my favourite scripture is Psalm 100, which begins: 'Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.'
"I really like that Psalm because God gave me a joyful heart and a joyful mind, so I think it's good to celebrate and give Him all the glory."
TROUBLE OR DESPAIR
Tanieka Dalhouse, a 14-year-old student of Tower Isle, added: "My favourite scripture is Psalm 121: 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' I like it because whenever I am in trouble or despairing, it reminds me that I can always look to God for help."
On the subject of encouraging more youth to attend church, Tajay Williams, of Retreat, believes general apathy among young people will make it increasingly necessary for churches to find fresh and innovative ways to attract children and young adults.
Williams, 18, who has been a Christian for the past nine years, explained: "I was grown up in the Adventist Church and my parents taught me what is expected and the behaviour that I should portray.
"I think that on a whole, young people don't always want to hear about God, and so you have to know how to convince them and what to say in order for them to be a part of the SDA Church.
"But's important that we try to bring them in so they feel comforted and know they will always have a shoulder to cry on no matter what the circumstances may be."