Two Problems in Youth Ministry

Judas' youth fellowship had fun near Dongting Lakea, a famous lake in Hunan.
Judas' youth fellowship had fun near Dongting Lakea, a famous lake in Hunan.
By Josiah LiMarch 29th, 2018

Brother Judas, a leader of a youth fellowship in a Hunan church, shared two problems he had in the youth ministry: the difficulty of spiritual transformation and the conflict of different concepts of marriage and love. 

"It's not easy to have spiritual transformation."

In November 2015, the former leader of Judas' fellowship got married to a man living in another city so she had to leave the fellowship. Brother Judas became the new head. He set a goal for his ministry: "to let them know Christ and faith; take faith from the perspectives of worldviews, life outlooks, and values; tell them a real Christian is not a blind follower, but has real confirmation in his heart; Christian faith leads one's life."

The fellowships holds one weekly meeting that consists of a warm-up activity, praise and worship, and a sermon with discussion in between. Sometimes discussion is the main tone through the gathering. Before meetings, Judas invites the members to have dinner together to the best of his ability. An outdoor fellowship activity is held every month and one or two large-scale activities are conducted every year. 

Judas said most post-1990s people regard meetings as just parties and rarely think seriously about faith. One of the pastoring problems was that it was hard to touch their hearts and result in their spiritual transformation even though they were nurtured for years. 

Judas tried several approaches to teach them God's word, but all turned out to be ineffective. In the first year, he shared the Bible in the fellowship's WeChat group but only three to five members gave regular responses. In the second year, he followed the church's initiative that urged members to check in daily for reading through the Bible in a year, but the idea failed to be implemented. In the second half of 2017, he promoted the church's cell group material every week, but nobody seemed interested. 

He said that he met a bottleneck period in shepherding believers at WeChat groups. 

Different viewpoints of marriage and love in two generations

For Judas, who was born in the 1970s, the concept of marriage and love in the eyes of the post-1990s generation differs much from his. He was impressed by the common phenomenon of cohabitation among the post-90s generation. 

"They take marriage seriously, but are a bit casual about relationships and cohabitation that are considered as trials." He said. 

Another difference was their opinion about homosexuals. Judas said that they accept homosexuals more openly than he might think and there were many gay people among the generation. The reason might be the misleading gender image of actors in entertainment programs and homosexual content in adolescence literature like electronic comic books. 

Moreover, they were realistic about marriage. Since his leadership in the ministry, no couple got married just because of mutual love and faith. After a more than two-year relationship, one sister even broke up with her boyfriend who graduated from a seminary because of his living conditions. 

Recalling the past service, Judas summarized that although he tried different approaches that were not good, he grew up much during the process. Currently, the greatest challenge for his fellowship is a lack of workers.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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