Youth in Focus

Gearing up youths to be anchored

Aug 2011    

“GEARED TO THE TIMES, ANCHORED TO THE ROCK!” has been the guiding motto of Singapore Youth for Christ, an organisation committed to reaching out to young people for Christ. is motto has also shaped my philosophy of ministry, particularly when it comes to discipling youths.

Being “geared to the times” means that we must be very aware that the youths we are trying to reach are very different from those we were once. (I was particularly tickled by a musical band in my church who called themselves “ The Young Once!”)

Not only must we be aware that they are different, we must make every effort to learn about their environment and culture in order to be effective and relevant. Perhaps one reason why some youth ministries are losing youths is that they are not geared sufficiently to the times.

Another reason, which is more serious, is the lack of being “anchored to the Rock!” Youth ministry thus becomes a “youth club” with fun activities, constantly trying very hard to plan for the next programme or sermon that hopes to entertain better than the previous one. In the process, we may have forgotten that our end goal is to bring each youth in an encounter with the living Presence of God. Being “geared to the times” means that we understand our present youths belong to the “sight-and-sound” generation, and their way of being “anchored to the Rock” is not just about getting them to agree to a set of doctrines but to help them experience God in a tangible way. Not just in the music, lights and videos of the worship services but also “out there” where they can see God at work among the lost, poor and needy.

“Geared to the times, Anchored to the Rock!” It is not an “either-or”. One is the means, the other is the end. Our method can change and must change, but our message should not.

Many of our Methodist youths are second, third or even fourth-generation Christians. ey have hopefully had high exposure to Christian beliefs, but may not necessarily be developed in the Christian faith. (Judges 2:7, 10 should serve as a good warning.) Often, they have been over-fed but under-challenged!

How then do we help them develop their faith to accept and live out the Word of God for themselves, much like the first-generation Christians? Do we provide them the facilities, environment and permission to worship and serve in a manner that is “geared to the times”? Do we create opportunities for them to go forth, especially in the area of missions, and pose challenges big enough for them to seek God’s destiny over their minute earthly ambitions?

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 tells us that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength, and to impress these commands on our children when we are sitting at home or walking along the road, when we are lying down and when we are getting up. In other words, not only are we to provide the facilities, environment and opportunities, we are also called to be role models for the next generation.

I want to encourage adults to be involved in the young people’s lives, not just as role models but as mentors as well. Go on mission trips with them. Parents, go with your children when they are young. By our lives, we show them what it means to be “geared to the times” but still “anchored to the Rock”, that our God is still as relevant and more importantly, real in this post-modern world!

SCHOOLS

Kindergartens share quality rating process

PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS from 19 Methodist kindergartens and pre-schools in Singapore attended the QRS (Quality Rating Scale) Methodist Sharing held at e Capstone Kindergarten on May 28, 2011.

The event was organised by Mrs Elsie Yee, Principal of Faith Kindergarten, to encourage the teachers to embark on the learning journey towards greater excellence in the holistic development of children.

During the sharing session, Mrs Ava Wang, Principal of Bedok Methodist Church Kindergarten, and her teachers shared on the strategies they prepared for their participation in the accreditation exercise. They had interactive and engaging activities embedded in their curriculum.

Miss Mabel Wee, Education Secretary of e Methodist Church in Singapore, facilitated the Q&A session. e panel consisted of QRS trainers, Mrs Lee Siew Choo and Mrs Elsie Lim, and two principals, Ms Jessica Chong of The Capstone Kindergarten, and Mrs Ava Wang. They answered questions pertaining to lesson plans, implementation and challenges with staffing, and stress at work.

It was an insightful sharing session and all the Methodist kindergartens benefited from it. They learnt how the accreditation process would spur improvements in structures and processes and raise the quality of their education programmes and overall administration.

At the end of the sharing, there was greater interest in the accreditation exercise and some kindergartens requested for another session.

Jessica Chong is the Principal of e Capstone Kindergarten.

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