What stood out to me from the FOPx findings, or my greatest takeaway, were feelings of optimism and renewed faith.
I witnessed a group of young ministers on the stage who, though they are from different denominations, were working together in unity for the sake of the future of the local church.
Off stage, the collective desire to work together and learn from each other is something that perhaps would not have been possible in the early years of local church history.
As I sat and looked around, the sight itself gave me hope and motivation that we really are in this together as a team. I am not alone.
This deeply encouraged me, and I believe many young pastors from smaller churches would feel the same too.
With regards to the findings, I thought that the survey results were pretty spot on because they are what I see in my church too.
We experienced more transferred growth rather than converts in ministry; we also have a missing generation which has resulted in a missing generation in the church’s top leadership.
I hope the results, solutions and ideas shared will cause pastors to remove old wineskins if necessary and put on new wineskins.
I hope it gets them motivated to get to know the next generation, provide a reasonable budget for the next generation, listen to them and contextualise the Gospel and the way we do church to their culture and their world to win them over.
Youths keep the church vibrant. And, if anything, the survey tells us that they want to be heard.
We need to win them over for Jesus. For the youths already in church, they are craving for more.
We must make sure the whole church is not in spiritual slumber. If the adults are not on fire, we cannot expect our youths to be on fire.
This brings me to my final thoughts about the survey.
While it did highlight the need for an increased parental involvement in the youth’s discipleship, what was lacking was the answer to the question of how can we disciple parents and adults to help them disciple their children and the youths?
It’s not an easy question to answer. But I believe the survey findings have created awareness and kicked us off to a good start.
Janelle is a Youth Pastor at Mount Carmel Bible Presbyterian Church.