Methodist youth and their impact on Singapore and the world
Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung –was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016.
He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference from 2008 to 2016.
Nelson Mandela once said, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” The youth are our hope for the future and they are the most precious assets of a country. The same rings true for the Church, because without her youth, the Church will decline.
The United Nations defines “youth” as persons between the ages of 15 and 24. In Singapore, the definition is extended to those up to the age of 35. The term iGeneration (iGen) is sometimes used to describe today’s youth, who have grown up with smartphones. Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the smartphone has become a standard item in the lives of many young people.
The youth are able to access the latest information and are learning more expeditiously through communications technology than through traditional classrooms, books and print media. The Church needs to adapt to maintain relationships with the youth as moral values and biblical truths are still most effectively imparted through shared experiences and close interactions.
Many churches in the West have very small congregations, where the average age of the members is closer to 70. If our Church is to continue to be full of vitality and a blessing to society, we will have to be more attentive to our youth—to love, cherish, nurture, develop, train, equip, engage with and empower them.
Love and cherish our youth
Nurture and develop our youth
We need to understand modern influences on Christianity in order to effectively communicate with them. Nurturing and developing the youth requires empathy and understanding, and they will be touched by the warmth and sincerity of the adults helping them.
Train and equip them
To continue to grow the Church, we must have those willing to support and guide the youths in their walk with the Lord, helping them to grow spiritually, so that they can make an impact for Christ, both now and in the future. Not all young people will become leaders, but all will have a part to play in the future of the Church.
Engage and empower them
Let’s ensure that young people have opportunities today to participate in all levels of the ministry of the Church, so that they can gain practical experience for the future. It is through this process that the youth can acquire a sense of responsibility and have their sense of belonging to the Church reinforced.