Mission in the Economy & Younger People
Engaging with the Economic Order
The economic pressures on younger people are considerable. Youth unemployment is at all time high levels, those who have been to university have massive debts, and home ownership becomes a distant dream for many.
It is the emergent generation who will, in their lifetimes, face the impact of climate change and the depletion of the earth's resources.
Many younger people are disillusioned with acquisitive consumerism and are looking for a coherent alternative.
An authentic Christian message will address the economic concerns of this generation who may be paying for the life enjoyed by their parents and grandparents who "never had it so good." We need to be sure that we are offering a holistic message based on a Christian understanding of environmental issues, and taking seriously the truth that happiness is not to be found in the quantity of a person's possessions.
People in the workplace are of a lower average age than those in our churches. Chaplains have a daily opportunity to meet and talk with these younger people and explore with them their aspirations and ambitions.
Christian young people themselves can act as chaplains – they are well placed to make constructive contacts with their peers. BCUIM is working with Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries to encourage and train young people for this role. They currently visit Wolverhampton YMCA and KicFm, a radio station which trains young people in broadcasting techniques.
The pastoral ministry of chaplains is on behalf the God who draws near to the broken hearted (Psalm 34: 18). Their prophetic ministry brings an understanding of Gods will to specific situations.
Promoting "Faith at Work"
Many churches have a diminishing number of members who are of working age. Activities and events can all too easily be focused on those who are retired, and the church becomes less attractive to younger people.
Those who attend occasionally for baptisms or who develop contacts through activities such as "Messy Church" find few people of their own age and background in congregations.
An emphasis on affirming and equipping people of working age in our churches for their daily life will demonstrate a pastoral concern for an age group who are often ignored. It is important that this is complementary to the visiting ministry of clergy which all too easily focuses on the sick and elderly, at home or in hospital.
The workplace offers many opportunities for evangelism, both through Christian service and through conversations. This is an important opportunity to reach new generations.