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Christians believe that it is part of their duty to act in a moral way. This involves helping others around them. The Church can play a vital role in assisting Christians to help others by providing:. There are also many non-religious functions that can take place in church buildings. There can be no question as to the crucial role the church played in challenging the racism that had made black Africans into less than second-class citizens. As young people rebelled against the oppression of the South African police, they found in Tutu a spokesperson and leader for their movement.

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American author and my friend Jim Wallis describes how, on one occasion, Tutu met with thousands of freedom-seeking young people in the cathedral of Cape Town. The atmosphere was electric with anticipation as Tutu took his place in the pulpit. He pointed to the policemen who had positioned themselves along the walls of the cathedral to intimidate the crowd. Then he lovingly spoke to the police: "Come join us! You know we will win, so why not be part of the victory? The congregation rose to its feet, swayed to the music, and started dancing in the aisles.

There was no containing these young people, who were celebrating the coming end of apartheid. The dancing spilled onto the streets, and passersby joined in. Thus, a revolution was fueled by a church that was willing to challenge oppressive principalities and powers that had once seemed unshakable. In addition to such direct campaigns for social change, there are a host of other ways in which the church has been a powerful force for positive societal transformation.

Consider what has been accomplished because of missionary work in developing nations.

Kofi Annan is one example. In Latin America, even Marxists have to give credit to church schools for training their leaders. Fidel Castro readily testifies that his revolutionary ideas came from his childhood training in Jesuit schools. And I haven't even mentioned all the incredible work missionaries have done in the fields of medical care and agriculture in developing countries.

Some people mock the missionary efforts of the church and claim that they have been destructive of indigenous cultures. There is some truth in what these critics say; missionaries have often made the mistake of imposing Western values and lifestyles on native peoples. But today's missionaries are much more cross-culturally sensitive than were their predecessors, and they are often trained in cultural anthropology so that they can contextualize the Gospel in ways that both employ and preserve the best of native cultures.

While I think that cultural sensitivity is essential, l don't believe that every cultural practice should be tolerated simply because it is indigenous.

The World's Most Persecuted Minority: Christians

For instance, certain cultures allow the ceremonial sacrificing of children, and others call for the circumcision of girls upon entering puberty. I believe unequivocally that such practices should be eliminated, and I think you will, too.

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Likewise, I have no qualms when it comes to challenging the treatment of women in Islamic countries governed by sharia law or what remains of the caste system in India. If the work of missionaries undermines cultural patterns that are cruel and dehumanizing, I'm all for it. The sooner, the better. There is little doubt that the tentacles of Western technology, and the social changes that come with it, sooner or later will reach out and affect every tribe and nation on earth. Given that expectation, I would prefer that preliterate societies first encounter the West via missionaries, who have the best interests and salvation of indigenous people at heart, rather than via commercial forces whose only concern is the maximizing of profits.

There is one scary thing about our desire to change the world into a societal system that is ever more like the kingdom of God. This is the triumphalist tendency, increasingly evident among us Evangelicals, to use political power to impose our will on the rest of the nation and even the rest of the world.

I see this happening especially among Evangelicals identified with the Religious Right who exercise their significant influence to try to force their agenda on others. There is incredible danger in this. I hope you can understand that Evangelicals' God-ordained identity as a servant people is compromised when we adopt coercion as our means for bringing others into compliance with God's will. Young people often tell me that they are wary of the institutional church because they believe it is filled with hypocrites.

Well, it is. What these people fail to understand, however, is that it is because the church is filled with hypocrites that they'll be right at home in it. If they don't think their own lives are filled with hypocrisies, then they are blind to the truth. We in the church mad no bones about it.

4 Biblical Elements Missing From The Modern Church Service - Relearn Church

We acknowledge our hypocrisy. We believe that everyone is a hypocrite, if by "hypocrite" we mean someone who does not live up to his or her declared ideals and does not practice what he or she preaches. Most of us in the church recognize that we fall short of our goals, but we acknowledge our shortcomings and have come together to help one another overcome our failures. As the old saying goes, "We're not what we ought to be, but then we're not what we used to be. In spite of all its flaws and shortcomings, I still believe that the church is filled, for the most part, with decent and caring people who will be there when you need them.

The loving fellowship that the church often provides is exemplified in a story that a Presbyterian pastor once told me about his early days of ministry at a small country church. One day, a young woman came to the church to present her child for baptism. She had given birth to the child out of wedlock; in a small rural community, a woman who has done this can easily find herself shunned. The day of the baptism, the woman stood alone before the congregation, holding her child in her arms. The pastor hadn't recognized the awkwardness of the situation until he asked, as is customary in a baptismal service, "Who stands with this child to assure the commitments and promises herewith made will be carried out?

Who will be there for this child in times of need and assure that this child is brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? But, as though on cue, the entire congregation stood and with one voice said, "We will! Those who think that church people are all bad should have been around on that Sunday, when they would have had a chance to see the church at its best.

They would have seen the church as a nurturing community. That kind of church is worth your time.

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Click for reprint information. Christianity Today 's bookmark review of the book is in the May issue. Letters to a Young Evangelical is available from ChristianBook. The book's website links to a video of an interview with Campolo on The Hour. Campolo's website has an excerpt of chapter three of Letters to a Young Evangelical. The January issue of Christianity Today featured a profile of Campolo one of the top 25 most influential preachers , according to PreachingToday.

For example, God used Timothy to pastor and lead the Ephesian church when he was a teenager. In addition, there is much to be learned from the faith of a child. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Youth need guidance and support as they navigate through the most challenging part of their development and seek to grow in their walk with Christ.


Christ-like leaders are needed to serve young members of the congregation and help them to reach their full potential. Youth ministry leaders must be rooted in a biblical foundation in order effectively communicate with young people. In addition, they must understand modern influences on Christianity, which allow them to identify with youth and build meaningful relationships with them. It is important for the truth of the gospel to be passed down from generation to generation in order to grow the body of Christ.

Ultimately, helping youth to grow spiritually in their formative years will equip them to make an impact for Christ both now and in their future.