“DON’T LET ANYONE look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity … ” (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul’s letters to Timothy clearly show his deep concern for nurturing youth.
The church is not a rigid organisation and its sustained growth must not depend solely on having oﬃcers elected from within or recruited from various sources. The church is for nurturing lives. The older generation of leaders will have to nurture the younger members as their successors. Such a process involves more than providing training courses or materials. It calls for adult believers to be role models for the youths – in church, at work and at home. We need them to mentor the youth and we value their vibrant testimonies as adult members who worship and love the Lord.
The World Federation of Chinese Methodist Conference 6th Session Youth Leaders’ Convention was held in Malacca from July 15-18, 2011. It was attended by some 500 youth leaders from Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sabah, Sarawak, West Malaysia and Singapore.
The theme of the conference was “Rekindle 100 o C fervency for the Lord”. The youths were moved by the evangelistic journey they took during those three days, and at the end of the conference they dedicated themselves to fervent service for the Lord. Fifty-eight of them responded to the call for full-time ministry. Chinese Methodist churches ought to be very encouraged and excited by the commitment of these 500 Methodist youths.
Youths are our future leaders but in recent years the church seems to be experiencing a gradual drain of our young people. If this is true of your church, urgent action is needed to stem the flow.
How do we know that our church is losing its youths? One of the telltale signs is when your own children are reluctant to attend your church’s worship service and gatherings. e Methodist Church has to value its youths and recognise that nurturing these precious resources for the church is the most worthwhile investment it can make. However, we are not to start showing care only when they are in their youth. We need to begin with the children’s ministry and by having a comprehensive Christian education curriculum.
The 500 youths who declared their commitment to fervent service for the Lord have since returned to their respective countries and churches to resume their lives. Who will continue the work of nurturing them? Who will serve as their mentors and role models in the days ahead?
Paul advises youths to flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). What the 500 youth leaders need to learn and follow are in fact the testimonies of the lives of all believers.
The Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung is the President of the Chinese Annual Conference.
WORD FROM THE EDITOR
THE LITTLE RED DOT will be all a-glitter with red – and white – this month. And come Aug 9, Red and White will cover the National Day Parade venue, drape HDB flats, homes, oﬃces and factories, and even light up the sky from helicopters as the nation throws its biggest party of the year. Forty-six years into independence, our island-republic – small in size but big on the world stage – will celebrate its birthday with a bang, and yet be mindful of the challenges ahead.
But for now, let’s paint the town red. Even as we do so, let’s keep a few things in mind so that faces will not go red or neighbours turn green.
Let us not be Ugly Singaporeans. Let’s NOT:
• Use the mobile phone in cinemas or theatres, at meetings and discussions. Switch it oﬀ;
• Send or read SMSes when someone is talking to you;
• Drive recklessly, weave in and out of lanes, and tailgate;
• Cut queues;
• Litter the tables at food centres after a meal;
• Spit in public and litter the roads;
• Lie on MRT seats;
• Smoke in non-designated areas;
• Put out clothes and mattresses on public benches, parks and other public places;
• Ill-treat our home helpers and other foreign workers;
• Exploit the poor and marginalised.
And when we are abroad, visiting another country, let’s NOT:
• Be arrogant and demanding;
• Flaunt our aﬄuence;
• Criticise the culture, service and work practices;
• Break the laws;
• Do the things we are not supposed to do in our own country.
These are just some of the social habits we should not harbour or cultivate. While there is some truth that not a few of these bad habits have been brought in or amplified by the foreigners, Singaporeans, too, need to be reminded and educated on social etiquette. Singapore, being a “fine city”, has come a long way these past 46 years – the fines for spitting, littering, speeding, etc have worked, but there are still some recalcitrants.
We are still on the road to nationhood; in fact, we still have a long way to go. A nation is judged not just on its economic success. It gains international repute and respect when it contributes to world order and when it is recognised as a “civilised society” by other nations.
We are not there yet, we are not a First World society. But, this National Day, we can resolve to be one. Let the Red and White flag fly high