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Battle within church to attract men; young people

Published:Thursday | November 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Barrington Hall

The transformation of lives into a deeper maturity with Christ is what stands out most for Barrington Hall, senior pastor at the Ekklesia Bible Fellowship in St Andrew, as he reflected on the church's sixth anniversary, which was celebrated recently.

What started as Bible study sessions have grown into an establishment with more than 100 members, and Hall noted in an interview with The Gleaner that equipping members to be empowered disciples of God, was the church's central focus and purpose.

"The lives we see being changed around us, I value nothing more than that. We had people who came in and you couldn't ask them to pray, you couldn't ask them to do anything. You had some who weren't so committed, but now you see them maturing in grace through full commitment in God. That to me is a great achievement," the senior pastor said.

"Discipleship is more than teaching people the Word, but developing persons holistically. There is that aspect of it that is missing (within churches). There is not a holistic push and drive to get people involved. We have a lot of gifted people in the Church, but what do we do with them? We have nurses, we have doctors, we have lawyers, but what do we do with them?" he asked.

In giving his assessment of the constant battle within churches to attract men and young people, Hall believes the Church has focused too much on adults to the detriment of young people. He said that what his congregation has done is establish a strong children's ministry in order to get it right from the beginning.

'Too much time trying to bend grown trees'

"We spend too much time trying to bend grown trees or straighten grown trees while we leave the little ones around us growing wild. The focus of the Church for so long has been more on adults while children are left," he said.

"There is a strong outreach to our children through our Sunday school. That was our first ministry, by the way. We started out of a need to keep children because they were bored in church. It is actually one of the strongest ministries. We have families who have come to church because of it. We have at least four families who came to church because their children wanted to attend Sunday school."

The senior pastor also emphasised the need for the Church to do more to reach men in order to fix some of the family gaps that exist in society.