China (MNN) — The registered church in China isn’t very diverse. Congregations are old. There are few young people who attend church at all. This could be a major problem for its growth.China Partner works with the registered church helping with training in China. President of the ministry is Erik Burklin. “If the church is not reaching the children and the teenagers of that generation, the church will die.”
That’s why China Partner has started a new work called Youth Serve. Linda Pervenecki is the director. How bad is the problem? “Anyone under 30 is almost non-existent in these churches. So you have a huge gap in age.”
Pervenecki says China Partner helps churches who are watching children while in child-care. “Adults who have kids and want to go to church: they have to have child care for their children.”
Youth Serve surveyed churches and their needs for youth training in China. In the last year, they discovered that if they start small group meetings targeting the 40-somethings, this can help expand the demographic younger.
With that success, Youth Serve has implemented a two-fold strategy. “One is to do small group ministry training that will help reach a younger audience and once churches have understood that we can go back them and help train them in young people ministry.”
Pervenecki says they used this strategy in one church as a test. Was it successful? “Through that, [the church] has literally changed the demographic of their church and now have all age groups there.”
How was the response? “The pastor could almost not contain himself and his excitement. He says he’s finally discovered a tool to help him reach young people.”
Burklin says that’s what’s so important about this training. It’s done by Chinese for the Chinese church. China Partner helps facilitate and feed their desire, but the church does the work. He’s hoping that as the excitement grows in churches, “That will spill over into neighboring cities and discover this is a tool to help reach the next generation.”
There is a concern for its future. Pray that God will grant wisdom to those involved and that more young people will join the growing church in China.
If youth ministry’s your thing, there’s a link to support them here.