By Rev. Embra Jackson
Editor's Note: Last in a series of article son the A2 Indicators.
A recent article in the
The transformation occurred when they were students at the
Willie says that
Today Willie and his wife, Terica, who was also a student in
We in the Mississippi Annual Conference are fortunate that
This story exemplifies how one person can make a difference in the life of a young person, and that person can in turn pass that blessing on to many other people. The results from the A2 Indicators reveal that as the average age of many of our church members continues to increase, we are challenged to develop ministries that are appealing to children and youth. However, we are called by Jesus to be engaged with these ministries (Luke 18:15-17). In addition to our calling, it is practical to be engaged in ministries with children and youth. If churches are not, they cannot expect to have young families as members.
Without the addition of this population into our churches, the likelihood of continued, long-term ministry is greatly diminished.
Some may be saying:
Such statements must be challenged if we are to become the “Church for All of God’s Children.”
At a recent Transformational Leaders’ School training event, the presenter showed a video clip about a church that was experiencing numerical decline and average age of member increase. In other words, the church members were getting older and they had very few persons joining the church.
The patriarch of the church and a small group of leaders visited a “growing” church across town. They were upset by the type of music, order of worship and dress that was a part of this congregation. However, they were amazed at the number of young persons who worshiped there and who accepted Christ as their savior during their visit.
As a result, they decided to go back to their church and create a worship service for young persons that included a live band. As the video clip ended, the church patriarch is seen with ear plugs in his ears during one of the youth worship services. He said, “I still do not like that loud music. However, if that is what it takes to win these young persons to Christ I’m all for it.”
In order to obtain assistance with creating such ministries or to assist your church in becoming a place where children and youth are welcome and are a part of the life of your church, the following resources and persons are available to assist you:
The General Board of Discipleship offers a large number of resources about children and youth ministries at www.gbod.org.
In addition, you may wish to contact churches in the conference that are involved in active youth and children’s ministries. Samuel Chapel UMC in Itta Bena under the leadership of the Rev. Marjorie Walker is such a church.