WHAT ROLE SHOULD THE LOCAL CHURCHPLAY IN HELPING TO CURTAIN VIOLENCE IN THE
I submit to you my brothers and sisters that our churches, pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and church leaders can and must play a pivotal role in helping to curtail the violence that our youth are perpetuating upon society as a whole. As I write this I know I am going to get a lot of negative feedback from some of our church leaders who have sit on the side line while the violence run rapid within our schools, and communities. Now I ask you, before you make a quick judgment about this article and condemn it out of hand, use the power of your own thought process, that God has blessed you with, and become a deep thinker. Allow your mind to think deep on what is happening within your own church and surrounding communities, and what you can do to bring about a change that will help our youth to become productive citizen of the world community. You are truly the great leaders within your community and building strong leadership teams that can help root out crime, bring stability to the community, rebuild the community, and help to develop strong characters and new leaders from those that are now destroying the community should be a goal worthy of Godly leaders.
As I see it, to a great degree, our churches are leading the way the youth are perpetuating violence upon society, and here is the reason why I can make such a bold statement. Many of the local churches have closed their doors, locked them and placed iron bars on the doors and windows to keep the youth out. They have an invisible sign outside that reads, no young people are welcome. No gang bangers, no drug are alcoholic addicts, no prostitutes, no homeless person. If you are truly not one of us, please do not enter these doors. Now I ask you, “Is this the way Jesus would want us to treat the youth among us, for us to live in fear of what they might do?”
You as leaders, say that the youth are breaking into the churches, disrupting the flow of activities, stealing and destroying church property. I know this to be true in some areas of the country, because I have seen it first hand for myself. However, what I am talking about here is the turning away of our children from having a safe place to go. The local churches should be a sanctuary for our youth. You should not be fearful of them, but instead be and example of what and who they could become with some encouragement and proper leadership training. I know that I am placing a lot of responsibility on our churches and church leadership, but we must remember, this is the price we pay for being a disciple of Jesus. Jesus never ran from his leadership role and responsibilities and neither should we. Our churches should be a place that our youth can go any time of the day or evening to play games, study and what a wonderful opportunity you now have to teach them the word of God and the right way of handling their problems and keeping them out of the jaws of Satan.
The church doors should be open all the time not just on Sunday for a Sunday morning worship service and then locked up until the next Sunday. When there is nothing for a lot of you as church leaders to do all day long, but sit at home and watch the trash on television, gossip on the phone about who is sleeping with who; then you should be more than willing to take turns, keeping the church doors open. Now is a perfect time to train the young people in conducting Bible Study, learning to pray and preparing activities for the kids. If you would do this, you would not have to put iron bars on the doors to keep the youth out. The doors would be open and the youth would want to come in. That would have a powerful positive effect on the youth as well as the community as a whole, and what a great opportunity to begin a true leadership training course for your entire leadership team as well as the community.
We Christians have to stop being afraid of our youth. We have to take a stand exerting leadership within our church and community. I can assure you where there is a weak leadership within the church and community; there is a concentration of drugs, gangs and violence. The people in the community live every day in fear of their own life. I submit to you, if you are living locked away in your home and church, afraid some kids are going to rob you or kill you, what is your purpose for living? Take a stand, be strong, exert leadership, open the doors of your church, invite the young gang bangers to come in, teach them how to rap for the Lord, how to be gang bangers for the lost soul. I guarantee you will begin to experience a difference in your own life as well as the life of the community.
I know what I am stating here is difficult for most churches and the church leadership as a whole. Now let me tell you why. I have had the good fortune to have traveled to many different parts of the world as well as travel all over America. I attended many different churches across America as well as speak to many different church organizations and other groups. One thing that I have come to realize is that more than 70% of all churches in America are small churches with membership of less than a 100 people and on any given Sunday morning, there will be less than 60 people in each church.
Moreover, out of those that attend, less than 5% will be young children. Now you ask where all the children from the community are. Come Sunday morning, the bus stops will be filled with children to attend school. If this is the case, why are they not lined up to attend church on Sunday morning? The reason for this is it is easier to join a large church congregation than a small church. Where there is a church congregation of 500 or more in attendance, you will find about 35% of those is young people and the larger the congregation, the larger the youth are in attendance and active within the church.
Small churches in America have become private social clubs for the elite of the community where they are located. If you are a member of that social elite club, you are welcome within that church. Oh sure, they will tell you that their doors are open and all are welcome, but to become a member without first embracing yourself to the social elite and then submitting yourselves to their beliefs and you will see how fast you will get the cold shoulder. Now I remind you that these people proclaim themselves Christian, and who am I to judge them for the bible teaches me to judge not. In addition, most of them are lead by a preacher of their own choosing. For the Bible tells us that some of these people and not all small churches are this way, it says, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they are ignorant of God’s righteousness of God.” (Roman 10:2-3).
These churches that are proclaiming the word of God without submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God are the very ones I am talking about that are contributing to the violence within our schools and communities. They are turning away the children as well as the parents of these children. The way they turn them away, is by the actions they take in the church and carry out within the community.
The people in the community are watching and waiting. They are hungry for the gospel, but no one within the church is taken the gospel to them. The preacher is afraid of losing his job that he only dares to tell the people what they want to hear instead of thus said the Lord. The temptation is so great within a lot of these small churches to do wrong, that the preachers are leading the congregation astray by not proclaiming God’s word. Listen to what God commands his preachers to do, he says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; Reprove, rebuke, exhort with long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fiction (II Timothy 4:2-4).” In Jesus name we pray that a change will come. Amen
I encourage all church leaders everywhere, to think deeply on the teachings of Jesus and how he would handle the many difficult problems our young people are experiencing in this world today. Become that example that you want them to live by and put your true leadership skills on display within your community for the world to see. When you save the life of one soul you are saving the lives of many. I minister to you this day from a position of peace, purpose, power and prosperity in the name of Jesus Christ; I remain your brother in Christ, Pastor Davis/Master Teacher!
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