Pastors' Experience on Shepherding the Chinese Post-90s Generation
By Elsie Hu, October 07, 2016 23:10 PM
Sohu News published an article named "Cliff type reduction of post-90s generation." The article mentioned that the population structure and quality is the fundamental cause of China's development of economy in the past decades. However, the number of post 90s is decreasing sharply.
Churches are facing the same situation. According to a pastor, it is difficult to find ideal young Christians as successors of churches in China. Nowadays the biggest problem is that young believers are not willing to serve God.
Post 90s need the church's help and guidance to learn about and love the church. How can church guide and shepherd post-90 generation? Different shepherds have different views.
Missionary Chen: The shepherd mode of post-90 generation shall be different
Missionary Chen argues that post 90s are gradually becoming mature. They have a broader horizon and never follow others blindly. They young generation has no concept of authority. They are more practical.
Chen suggests that we shall shepherd post 90s in following ways:
1. Help post 90s find their role in the church. We can build a suitable fellowship for young people if circumstances permit. The leader had better be born between 1985 and 1991.
2. Many young people don't like listening to gospel because it is far away from their life. The words of pastors shall be practical and easy to understand.
3. A number of churches still remain the sacred and solemn way of worship. However, this doesn't mean the worship shall be boring and dull. A lively form of worship shall be carried out to fit the needs of young people.
4. Help college students of post 90s participate in social service so as to combine belief and life.
Missionary Chen mentioned that the mode and the barycenter of shepherd in the church are constantly changing. We shall shepherd the young generation in a different way. "If the belief cannot help me deal with the world, it will lose its charm to me." Missionary Chen concluded.
Teacher Zhang: Pastors shall shepherd believers close to their age
As a member of post-80 generation, Teacher Zhang also said that she doesn't know how to communicate with post 90s due to the generation gap.
A little sister born in 1998 impressed her most. The little sister's parents got divorced when she was very young. She feels lonely and buries all her thoughts and feelings in the heart. Teacher Zhang tried to help her with belief and life and devoted much love to her.
The little sister gradually began to trust Teacher Zhang. When meeting difficulties in belief and life, she is willing to ask Teacher Zhang for help. "Sometimes I still feel puzzled because I just don't know what she is thinking." Teacher Zhang said.
In Zhang's opinion, the most important thing is to shepherd the young generation with love. When they feel love from the church, they will keep an open heart to the church and accept gospel. She also suggests that pastors shall shepherd believers close to their age for easier communication.
Pastor Hong: Shepherd separately before concentration
Pastor Hong from Jiangxi Province thinks that problems existing in the church are due to ideological conflicts between the old and young.
The aged people prefer traditional evangelism themed with peace, repentance and reborn. Young people like talking about hot topics in the society, which is too trendy and hard to accept for the old.
Pastor Hong provides following suggestions to better shepherd post-90 generation:
1. Junior high school students shall participate in Communion Service and Ritus pacis in Sunday school so that they can keep up with the growth of the church. College students can participate in lively fellowship.
2. When young Christians have grown up and become mature, they shall be transferred to the lobby and worship together with believers of different ages. The traditional doctrine matters most whatever the form of fellowship is.
3. Build a relationship of love and trust first. In this way the communication shall be much easier. If a pastor forces young people to obey his words, they will eventually leave.
4. Let young pastors lead post-90 generation. The fellowship could be more harmonious and integrated since young people have the same topics.
Hong hopes that more attention shall be paid to the viewpoints of post-90 generation since they are eager to express themselves. The church shall give them help and guidance according to their needs.
Pastor Wang: Modes of shepherd shall change according to different environment and situation.
Pastor Wang thinks that we shall explain the current social situation and post 90s' personal life with gospel. Then they will accept our help.
He added that we shall help them with love and they will understand God's love through people.
Wang also suggested fun and interesting fellowship activities so as to enhance the friendship between young brothers and sisters.
Sister Xia: Experienced believers shall lead the new generation
Sister Xia has proposed a different viewpoint. She doesn't agree that young people shall be led by pastors of their age.
Xia thinks college students and young Christians are more concerned about their job and career. They won't get useful suggestions from their peers. However, people in their thirties can provide related experience and information.
Xia mentioned that old Christians have met the problems of post 90s, too. What' more, we can classify the problems and share experience with each other in the fellowship.
Xia thinks that we need to update the church to shepherd the young generation. A church shall never stand still and refuse to make progress. God may need us to actively look for a new way of evangelism with our brain.
Don't place too high requirements on young Christians. Some pastors make Christian college students participate in charitable activities or preach gospel to newly arrived young people. All these are in a hurry. Experienced pastors shall encourage young Christians to express their problems first. Then pastors shall analyze their problems and give related guidance.
In a word, Xia suggested that communication goes before preaching. One-sided propaganda is meaningless.
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