Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reflection on church and youth in light of “God wants youth” article – Part 2 of 2


Most regular church goers assume that sharing communal narratives with the youths in the church is the sole responsibility of the ministers and the teachers of youth ministry. However communal narrative by virtue of its nature means the narrative of the congregation at large. It is not the minister's narrative or even youth teacher's narrative that is the source of authority for the youths' narratives, unless the minister is pioneering a youth-dominated church. Every congregation has its own history, tradition, own style of worship, preferred theology, and the social group it tends to attract. To be generous enough to encompass people of different style of worship and social status to share the communal narrative demands a vision and theology wide enough to accommodate different nations coming together to worship before our God (Rev 15:4). It is to enlarge one's imagination to hear voices of different nations singing "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev 11:15). Our narratives constitute God's grand narrative. We participate in God's grand narrative by seeing every aspect of our lives as a journey together with God, and our narratives as enriching God's grand narrative. If God is so generous as to shower us with radical grace and love to an extent that His one and only Son died for our sins before we have restored our relationship with Him (Rom 5:8) and to include us (i.e. people of different age group, of different social status, of different nationality) in His grand narrative, who are we to withhold our communal narratives from being shared with others who are different from us?

Taking cue from Pastor Tan's Heart of God Church, I would suggest creating space for youths to worship in the church. Let them take the lead in worship, give them the centre stage where they can lead the whole congregation to worship once in a while and let them take ownership of shaping their narratives together with the rest of the congregation. It is not only the adults who have message to tell the youths and children, I believe youths and children are also avenues where God is telling us God’s grand narrative.

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