I'll stay with the Asian theme. My home town – population of about 60,000 – contained a number of churches, all of them relatively small. In a place like this, you get to know the Christian community quite well. Youngish Christians are not common.
I do not say this in a spirit of criticism. But most of the evangelical and charismatic believers fall into the following categories:
- Elderly or middle aged men, women and couples whose children have flown the nest – both physically and spiritually. There are several aging churches which have some ministries to children and youth, yet they have largely failed to pass on their faith to the next generation.
- Wives of unbelieving husbands. And husbands of unbelieving wives.
- Single mothers. Some who have never married, some who have divorced.
- Christian Families! By this, I mean a dad, a mum and one or more children of school age, all of which are, to some degree, Christians.
Believe me, the latter category is in the minority. I remember one day trying to think how many actual Christian families there were in the North East town I then lived in. I could count the number on one hand.
I asked a Muslim neighbour how many reasonably committed Muslim families there were in our part of town. She said about fifty that she knew of. And there were more elsewhere.
I had to ask myself a serious question. Who has the brighter future in my town? About 30 churches and three Mosques. No worries....? Think again. Lots of broken Christian families. Lots of complete Muslim families. Fifty young Muslim families my friend knew of. Less than five young Christian families I knew of. Now who has the brighter future?
In my part of the world, strong Christian families are a rarity. We need strong marriages, responsible fathers, Christ centred homes.
Wake up, church!