Is separate church for youths necessary ?
Despite having big auditoria to cater for their teeming members, some churches still operate a separate wing for their young ones. It is understood that many churches are trying to catch them young for Christ, but why this division? OMIKO AWA and JACOB ISSAC report.
It Is A Way Of Evangelistic Outreach
Rt. Rev. Oluranti Odubogun, Bishop of the Diocese of Ife (Anglican Communion) Emeritus.
The youth church is a necessity in the existing churches. Most of the orthodox churches, for example the Anglican Church and Methodist Church, among others, have mostly elderly people as members of their congregation. It is, therefore, essential that young people are encouraged to run at their own pace. They should be reached with the gospel at their level of understanding. They should be made to have deep relationship with Christ. The older ones are used to the old ways of doing things, while the young ones are more vibrant and adventurous. So, the youth church makes it possible for youths to be ministered to in a manner that would make them active participants of the church and secondly, to have unhindered relationship with God.
It is a form of evangelistic outreach, because the youth would reach out to their contemporaries, who would also be interested in the worship of God, especially when he/she realises that the particular congregation is made up of youth.
However, it does not mean that they should be entirely left on their own. Rather, they should be assigned young priests to nurture them within the context of the liturgy of the church.
Giving youth a church of their own would enable them to fully express themselves before God and be more relevant in church service.
It Creates Conducive Environment For Youths To Prepare For Tomorrow
Pastor Johnson Odesola, Assistant General Overseer, Admin And Personnel, Redeemed Christian Church Of God (RCCG).
IT is quite necessary to have a youth church in this contemporary time. A cursory look at the congregation of any church would convince us that the population of the youth is always more than that of adults. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the church to create a conducive environment for the youths to adequately prepare them for the future. Looking at the present age, we would discover that things have changed, which calls for the youths to be identified with at their level of reasoning.
This would also enable them to contribute to the church’s growth and development, because the youths would draw their mates to the church. In actual fact, when their contemporaries realise that they would be among their peers, they would be interested in identifying with them.
Looking around the world today, we would see an upsurge of youthful leaders in many areas. Most employers today prefer the youths and so, they are found in banks and in many lucrative ventures. We can also see that some nations are producing young people as their presidents. So, they are also not left out in the political arena. They have fresh and innovative ideas and are needed to contribute their quota to boost the economy, as they have the brain and intelligence to proffer solutions to many complex situations through their unique way of reasoning.
All these reasons contribute to the importance and necessity of the youths having their own worship to solidly prepare them for the future and greater responsibilities.
It Is A Way Of Catching Them Young And Communicating In Their Language
His Eminence, Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate of Methodist Church, Nigeria.
The youth church is very important. It is a way of catching them young and communicating to them in their own language.
Our policy now is that every local church must have a youth church and they must be assisted to serve God. Other methods apart from this would be efforts in futility.
However, the youths need to be supervised by the elders, with a view to making them disciples of Jesus Christ. They should be mentored for discipleship. The word ‘discipleship’ in the Methodist Church is very significant. They should also be given all encouragement to ensure that they do not deviate.
Above all, we should know that making heaven is the ultimate. Getting to heaven matters a lot and so, as they are given the opportunity to have their own worship service, focus should not be shifted from making them realise this essential goal. They should be made to understand that it is not about freedom to do anything, but to make heaven.
It Is Some Churches’ Way Of Handling Their Youths And Passing Down To Them The Right Teachings
Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Archbishop and President of the Gospel Baptist Conference of Nigeria, as well as President, Christian Welfare Initiative (CWI).
The current trend sees youths as a distinct entity from the adults or elderly members of the church. But before separating them from the adults and elderly, we should, as ministers and shepherds, device ways of taking care of their challenges. Churches should fashion out programmes and prepare their sermons to reach out to the youths, because their ways of life, attitude, actions and reasoning are different from what it used to be in the past. Ministers should make their sermons relevant to their experiences.
However, having a youth church depends on how a particular church wants to handle her youth and pass down to them the right teachings. This is because there are some general teachings on such principles as righteousness, holiness, perfection, morality, good behaviour and others that both adults and youths must listen to, as they are for everybody. I am, however, emphasising that these teachings should not be compromised. Rather, they should be taught seriously to all members, irrespective of age.
Many churches now have youth and general services, but we need to be careful in handling the youth church, so that they do not feel they have been given the freedom to do whatever they like. A church must remain a church to ensure that those things that are not acceptable are avoided by the youths. All activities must be in line with Christian principles and anything outside this should not be encouraged.
It’s Part Of The Great Commission
Bishop Charles Ighele, General Superintendent, Holy Spirit Mission, (Happy Family Church).
Having a youth church is necessary, considering the way the world is going. It becomes more important, when we realise that youths are tomorrow’s leaders.
A lot of dangers are confronting today’s youths. Many negative things are wooing them, trying to make them derail from God, but we have to seriously engage them in the service of the Almighty Lord.
So, through the youth church, we nurture them, using their type of music and those things that interest them without contradicting the true and acceptable worship.
We are to carry out the great commission and part of this is building the youths’ life into maturity and then promoting them to the adult church. The advantages of this type of church include, helping them to grow emotionally.
It’s A Desirable And Good Approach To Addressing The Future In The Present
Bishop Taiwo Akinola, President/Founder and Pastor-General Of Rhema Christian Church And Towers International, Ota, Ogun State.
In the first instance, I believe that our youths are the future of our politics, whether church or national politics. There is a saying that every child is the autograph of his parents. I, therefore, believe that it is a desirable and good approach to addressing the future in the present, if we give the privilege of separate worship to the youths, with a view to raising, training, equipping and exposing them to the gospel.
We should set up a youth church at the time that the young ones we want to put together are adequately exposed to the mystery of what the gospel is all about. Prior to giving them their own church, they should be adequately developed and are able to understand the core gospel, while the church should prepare appropriate hands that would guide them, because if they are separated without someone to oversee them, the purpose of giving them their separate service might be defeated.
Having a youth church will facilitate the church’s growth and contribute to the spreading of evangelism.
The youth church has a biblical basis, as it could be seen with Joshua in the Bible. He was a young man at the time he was taking over from Moses. Be that as it may, I believe essentially that God would not frown at anything we can do to expand the horizon of the church of Jesus Christ in our generation.
Youth Churches Provide Social Circle That Could Be Explored For Church Growth
Rev. Olusola Akinkuolie, General Overseer, Christ’s Overflowing Anointing Church, Ayobo, Lagos.
Having youth churches is gradually gaining ground today in many denominations because of the desire to further reach the youth. The feeling is that teenagers wanting to learn about Jesus and Christianity should be given the opportunity to do so. They are of the opinion that the mainstream church is not able to adequately cater for the need of the present-day youths. They get alienated over time in bigger adult churches.
In addition, it is the belief that the youth churches would provide such social circle that could be explored for church growth. It is also regarded as an avenue to interact with their peers. However, this is not without some disadvantages. There have been cases of ungodly relationships between some youth leaders and members. This is not to say that the adult churches are immune from such vices. While the arrangement is good in all intents and purposes, small and great churches, that are yet to establish youth churches must be adequately prepared, as well as consider the pros and cons before embarking on such a move.
The big churches that are already entrenched in holiness would find the establishment of youth churches beneficial, provided those to oversee the youths are well trained and supervised.
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