Do churches have an obligation to do more to reach youth?
The leadership role of black churches before the movement and during the movement was simple; they took care of us. Through my research I found that before segregation and the civil rights movement, Black churches had so much power and respect from the black community and, I think, from people in general. For example: when people wanted advice they did not look to talk show but the church.
Throughout history, the black church served as a place of worship and also a community "bulletin," a “credit union," a "people's court," “counselor” and a place for political activism. This showed the importance of the ministers and men in the church.
While my generation today looks up to entertainers and athletes, I believe the kids in the past looked up to the pastor and the men in the churches; men that would mentor them and offer moral support and while providing morale. In no way am I saying these men do not exist in today churches. But time has change and so, in my humble opinion, the church must change also.
Today's youth are given the choice to attend church. So the great sermon that would change someone life will not be heard. I am a child of GOD and I know without my school (a Christian Academy) and my church giving me a spiritual understanding of what our purpose is, I might be one of those teens looking up to the women on the Bad Girls Club.
If the church were to open its doors and then go out to the streets and talk to teens and invite them in sagging pants and all, youth violence would decrease. Youth would have more pride in our appearance and would feel ashamed if we wore sagging pants. My point is we are more than a hairstyle or what fad is out. Kids ask me what does my church do for me I tell them. They made me feel safe and it is a place to go when I need spiritual advice.
I started brain storming on how to decrease youth violence and one of the answers is the Black church. You see, with everything that has been instilled in me I could never shoot someone. All of my answers are informed by what I have learned in the church (I would feel bad, It's against the law, I could go to Hell, and what would my family think. It would hurt me). All my answers brought me back to one thing: My faith and the morals I was just not taught at home but in church.
So here is just one of my ideas - take the closest five churches in a community and have them open their doors one day week from 3-7pm. Church A opens on Monday- Church B on Tuesday- And so on.
That what this should not be a financial burden on any one church. The benefits would be incredible. Just think - kids would have a safe place to go. Kids would learn the love of God and I am not just saying Christian churches or a Christian God. I am saying Temples, Mosques, Halls, etc.
I believe the pews would start to be filled with young people. And our communities would be so much better.
Marypat Hector is a young lady from Atlanta, Georgia and fully intends to change the world through her motivational speaking and grassroots movements. She is truly a young leader for our generation.