“I Didn’t Learn Much Growing Up In My Mainline Church!”

I’ve heard several testimonies of young adults saying how they didn’t learn much about the Christian faith in the mainline churches they grew up in – such as the Anglican or Methodist church. And now that they are in XYZ Church, they have learned so much about the Word and their faith has grown. While I think some of these criticisms of mainline churches may be misled or even unfair because it gives the impression that all mainline churches have lousy discipleship programmes which is certainly untrue, yet at the same time, I think there is some validity to what is being said. Maybe not every young adult who grew up in mainline churches feel this way, but a good number of them do and because they do, it is therefore well worth our time asking ourselves a few hard questions such as “is our Sunday School effective in teaching the Word of God or are we just telling Bible stories?”, “is our youth ministry effective in teaching the Word to establish faith in young people or are we relying too much on emotionally-charged passionate worship and sermons?”, “are our Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, ministry staff and age-group ministries pastors properly equipped for the work of building faith in the next generation – and faith must be founded on the Word of God, are they able to teach the Word of God faithfully and properly?”, “what are our children’s and youth ministry staff busy with mostly – organizing activities or preparing to teach the Word? related question: what degree of importance is given to the preparation and teaching of the Word? how much time is given to it?” The future of the church rests in the hands of the next generation, thus our careful attention to the discipleship process is of utmost importance. (Just to add and clarify: true faith in God is not only about an inner spiritual formation and growth but an outward expression in love and ministry so that the gospel may be made known throughout the world.)

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