Comments: Regeneration Youth Summit - book now!

Suggestion: Drop the "Church Army" tag...I can't believe it appeals to young people anywhere in the Western World, except those with an inclination to join the military....

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Friday, 11 February 2011 at 11:29am GMT

"a response to some shocking statistics about the numbers of young people in the Church of England"

And it's not "shockingly large" or "a shocking increase" I'm guessing?

Posted by JCF at Friday, 11 February 2011 at 6:38pm GMT

You can dress it up any way you want, but the focus on internal politics and superficial activity versus genuine outreach is the real reason for the church's loss of youth appeal.

The youth summit is unlikely to hear the prophetic voice of the Holy Spirit urging them to ignore external qualifications and prioritise God-given passion for the task of evangelism itself.

God's messengers need to sympathise with their audience, yet solemnly seek empowerment to deliver the simple message of God's sacrificial yearning for and recovery of our fullest potential in Jesus Christ.

Anglican ministers may continue to dream up innovative rituals of worship and craft amusing homilies. However, many still lack the courage and enterprise needed to address a younger, more critical audience. They also need the supernatural empowerment and the adaptability to abandon form and ritual for the essence of the gospel: God's unabashed aching love for an unloving world. Call me romantic, but our 'silly love song' about how Jesus changed our lives is what we need to deliver the alienated youth of this country from evil.

As Paul said, 'And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power' 1 Cor. 2:4. We could, at least, try out his mix of an unsophisticated message with reliance on divine intervention. Who knows? It might even work!

Posted by David Shepherd at Saturday, 12 February 2011 at 4:58pm GMT

"Call me romantic, but our 'silly love song' about how Jesus changed our lives is what we need to deliver the alienated youth of this country from evil."

That is exactly what we don't need. What we need is to tell them how Jesus' message changes the WORLD, not us! How living by Jesus' message--his true message about loving God with our whole selves and loving our neighbors as ourselves (and how the first is impossible without the second)--can makes this a better place to live.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 12:21pm GMT

Well Pat,

You tell them how Christ's message changes the world for the better without declaring how He's changed your life.

Those young people might just want to scrutinise your life in practical terms before embracing a gospel devoid of any testimony to personal change and conversion. You know, like Paul's testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26.

Posted by David Shepherd at Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 3:05pm GMT

David:

My point is that young people today here messages of personal change from every corner--weight loss programs, 12-step programs, even charlatans promoting bogus debt-reduction schemes. Why should they believe someone who says "Jesus changed my life" any more than they believe all the others?

But tell them "following Jesus' message got me to help change my neighborhood for the better"...and show them how it did it...and you might actually get their attention.

And as I noted, you cannot follow Jesus' message without loving God with your whole self. If that's not an example of "practical change," what would you prefer?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 13 February 2011 at 10:34pm GMT

It would be easy to pen a clever rebuttal. As you know, Pat, I don't operate along the traditional lines of church politics. Neither do you.

So...you're right! I really agree (shock, horror, surprise) that Christians need to 'turn the world upside-down with their doctrine'.

I wasn't proposing that personal change was unaccompanied by a meaningful impact on society, but your last comment articulated our need to change the world a lot better than mine did.

Posted by David Shepherd at Monday, 14 February 2011 at 12:44am GMT
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