Young Believers Need to Be Heard

A group of young people discussing by the windows
A group of young people discussing by the windows (photo: Getty Images)
By Li DaonanFebruary 21st, 2024

I once accompanied an unbelieving friend to church and happened to attend the welcoming event of the youth fellowship. Faced with newcomers, they immediately started talking about the transworld depravity and Jesus' salvation. They spoke for about half an hour without allowing my friend to ask a single question. After explaining the entire concept of salvation, my friend shared his confusion, anxiety, and workplace challenges. However, their response was simply, "You can only find solutions by recognizing Jesus and embracing salvation."

On the other hand, for someone who believes in Jesus and encounters similar problems, the response might be, "Your problem indicates a crisis in your relationship with God. How long has it been since you read the Bible and prayed? When did you last come before God to confess your sins?"

Many Christians are enthusiastic about the church's growth, focusing on how many people attend meetings and how many believers are baptized each month. However, when it comes to the personal situations of these believers, they are unwilling to understand. Some pastors only want to face a mass of believers and explain the Bible, rather than pay attention to a believer's inner anxieties and pain.

The traditional model was effective in a time of material scarcity and frequent disasters. The alignment of suffering and doctrine made it easy for people to accept the teachings. Therefore, there was no need for listening, as each person's condition was the same, and they all needed doctrine to explain and resolve their suffering.

Contemporary people also face hardships – entrepreneurial failure, broken marriages, exam failure, job rejections, or unfair treatment in the workplace. Each one has his own struggle, which is no longer a shared hardship.

In today's era, despite having unified social rules, each individual exists under these rules independently. They have their own lives, thoughts, anxieties, and troubles. In such a time, our traditional ways of evangelizing need reconsideration.

"Don't give young people too much advice!" These pieces of advice are based on traditional experiences and are no longer suitable for young people, who are unable to respond to their unique life experiences.

Perhaps, what they need more of is a listener. Every person is eager to express himself, but not many are willing to quiet down and listen to others' expressions. Regardless of whether they are believers or non-believers, they don't need high-and-mighty preaching and advice; they need listeners who can sit down to hear their stories and provide advice to address their anxieties.

The church may consider abandoning the high and mighty, victorious attitude to focus on the voices of those around them, communicating with them on an equal and effective basis.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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