Monday, 21 April 2008

Lost Generations!

Methodist Preacher has another challenging post on his blog and it made me think of my first foray into Methodism in the early 1980's. I cam in through the witness of a young lad who kept inviting me to go and hear a gospel rock band called Blazing Apostles. I eventually went along and then accepted a further invitation to go to the youth group at his church. This youth group had about 60 young people who were very much into contemporary worship and interested in the charismatic side of the church. Most of them had read 'Nine O'clock in the Morning' by Denis Bennett which was an incredible story of his awakening to the working of the Holy Spirit. In one meeting there was a message in tongues but before there could be an interpretation the visiting minister who I suppose either did not understand what had gone on or didn't want to rushed on to the next thing on the programme and the moment was lost. One of the girls from the youth group was almost physically sick because she said she really felt that she had the interpretation.
Going on from this point I attended synod and on my first visit to it got elected to go to conference in 1982 - at the time I was out of work and at some points in the week I really fumed as people in very expensive suits with posh accents pontificated on the topic of unemployment and I have to say I doubt if any of them had ever been without a job or struggled to make ends meet, or if they had it had been a long time away. I did at one point say to the minister I sat with for most of the week that I was incensed by these people - he suggested I should go to the podium and say something but of course as someone in their mid twenties attending such a huge event I did not have the courage to do so. If I were attending now I would have no hesitation but then I looked at all these posh people who appeared far superior to an ordinary working class Black Country lad and bottled out.
Having had this experience I can understand much of what MP is saying in his post about the lost generation - there are only a handful of that 60 or so young people who still have any connection with the church, Methodist or otherwise and it really is a great shame as there was a great deal of potential among these young people if they had been nurtured and allowed to develop without the strait jacket approach that seemed to prevail.


Methodist Preacher said...

Thanks FP. There are so few of us who have made it through this experience that it is important we share these experiences with wider methodism.

By learning where we went wrong in the past we may learn for the future. I wonder what the message was in the lost propechy that you describe?

Olive Morgan said...

The lost generation of which you write appears to be your own generation. The 'lost generation' being spoken about in the Church now is a younger generation and their are many reasons for this, not just the negligence of the existing curch congregation. The world has changed a great deal since I was young and very much since you were young. It used to be the case that when you went to university you joined Methsoc or Christian Union and you faith was strengthened. Methsoc and CU are not so strong today and now it seems that our young people are drawn into other groups which lessen or destroy their faith. Those who stay at home have so many other attractions to take them away from Sunday worship, from out-of-school activities right up to working on Sundays (and getting extra pay). Stop crying over spilt milk, FP, mop up the milk and eagerly work not only to prevent such spillages in the future but to change the situation. What ideas do you have to share with us?

Anonymous said...

The point is that a link was broken. Those in one decade will bring on those in the next and bring-up those the the next but one. Sever that link and you lose several generations. Today's lost generation is the fruit of the liberal war of attrition. If we do not repent, then it will happen again. We have to learn from history. It is not enough to accentuate the positive. Sin, which is negative, has to be faced and dealt with otherwise why did Jesus have to die?

Son of the Prophet said...

I'm a little confused, in your comment over on MP's blog you seemed to be saying to me that we should quietly go about our evangelical business and in the end perseverance will win out, now you appear to be asking FP to take a proactive approach and work for change. How do we do both? The only way to make sure we don't see these spillages again is to take the approach I described and work actively for a change of opinion across the board. Worse than having spilt milk is looking at it, thinking we will clear it up later and then letting it go stale.

Fat Prophet said...

Welcome Olive good to have you on board as they say.
I am sorry that you felt I was crying over spilt milk - this was certainly not my intention I was merely making an observation of something that I had experienced. Almost 26 years on I am still going on with the Lord and I definitely am not sitting looking at the milk, and I do eagerly work for the Lord in a variety of ways and have done so for the last 26/27 years and will continue to do so as long as He gives me strength to do so.
I have tried a few ideas recently at my own church both on my own and with the worship group when they have been 'planned' to lead worship and we often try new things when we take joint services either at the Central Hall or the local Anglican Church who we have worked with for some time now. I think I have mentioned some of these in previous posts and will possibly re-post some of them so that people can see what they were and how they went.
You may be interested to know I visited your church in the early 1980's when I was the road manager of a gospel rock band called 'Blazing Apostles'.