Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Difficult Youngsters?

by Rev. James Wong

Today is Sunday School Sunday. Our Sunday school serves children from age 3 to teenagers in Form 5.

Youngsters always puzzle me. As the world is changing fast I found that we have to change methods without changing or compromising the message of the gospel. New problems require new solution and new situations require new attitude shift. For example, Sunday school began as an evangelistic way to teach people how to read. The original idea was to give illiterate people a Bible and a formal education on one day of the week when they didn't work. That ‘off day’ was Sunday—hence the name Sunday school. Starting Sunday school was a brilliant idea to win people for Christ and at the same time meeting a social need. The situation is very different today. How can we effectively reach our youngsters today?

1. Reach them on their terms and not on our terms. Jesus said "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19 NIV). I once went fishing using KFC chicken meat because I had it for lunch but I caught no fish. The fish were biting the bait of the guy next to me because he fished with worms. Fishes like worms. We need to seek out what is important in their lives. Fisherman are knowledgeable about the habits of the different fishes.

2. Their tastes for things that are interesting. This includes interesting environment, interesting programs and interesting activities. Why such fuzz? Because they are exposed and influenced by the multi-media world. Graphics, colors, patterns, environments and audio visuals matter to them. We have a new generation that are on the World Wide Web. Web pages that are boring will not gain a second visit! Is our Sunday school an interesting place to learn about God and studying his Words? Alliance Bank is the first bank in Malaysia that comes out with a banking environment that is attractive to young people. They know the new mindset of the generation. Winning the business of the young people is to be ahead in the future.

3. Their need for friendship and love. Most children use mobile phone today and they get connected with their friends through MSN, Skype, Facebook, Tweeters and etc. The use of such technologies tell us the importance of relationships and friendship. The development of a caring and friendly relationship between teachers and students is crucial. Unless we win their friendship inside and outside the classrooms we will not be able to influence them for long. Before they can see Jesus as their friend they have to experience that we are their friends.

4. Their love for music. We have a music loving generation. I have come across a kid who specifically asked for a mobile phone for her birthday; not just any phone but a phone that can store many songs. An Ipod can hold 20,000 songs and most users are youngsters, a shopkeeper told me. What in the world they need so many songs? It is for music sharing! Never underestimate the importance of music in the Sunday school. Are we using some new and exciting tunes to bring across the message of God’s love, or are we still humming on the same old tunes for many decades?

You see, it is no easy task to serve in the Sunday school. The challenges are many. One new kid came to the Sunday school one day. And as he entered the classroom he said: “What a lousy place.” I was so displeased but then I realized the world has changed and I was unable to catch up. Let us give our unreserved support to this ministry and to all our dedicated teachers.

1 comment:

  1. what a great msg indeed
    I truly believe that if we are able to see what lies behind this msg
    our church will prosper
    going to church is more than the action of going to church
    going to church doesn't symbolis anything
    some take the action of going to church a symbol of christianity
    that might be true but not the whole truth
    faith is what we need
    without faith all actions are meaningless
    a wake up call for everyone
    be truth
    Jesus did not force anyone to follow him
    "Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19 NIV)
    that's an invite
    an invite for those who wants to follow him
    change is needed
    only by changing can we keep up with change