How age-segmentation strategies in churches are overrated

The obsession with millennials has made its way into the church, often with a disruptive bang, for better or worse. Its counter-movement is inter-generationalism, which resists targeting ages to forge a richer and more universal coming together of the different “generations”, acknowledging the failure of youth segregation through youth ministry which started as a trendy novelty in the 1980’s. Either way, it views the church in terms of demographic differentiation, which are, in my mind, categories useful to assist marketeers in their market segmentation more than it is for building Christ-formed communities.

(Of course, churches nowadays are filled with various marketing tools to build Christ-communities. Ironic, as it then renders the church incapable of challenging and subverting the very trends of neo-liberalism and its offspring, consumerism, that is attacking the church today. But that is just my opinion.)

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Ash Wednesday

It was the first day of Lent. And my first Ash Wednesday service, complete with the sign of the cross lightly drawn on my forehead with ash mixed with olive oil, along with the other 20 or so gathered at a dimly lit Bangsar Lutheran Church.

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Turning anger into love

A couple of years back, I attended a Global Leadership Summit. It might have been Bill Hybels who pointed out that there were two things that motivate passion projects: anger and zeal to fix a problem; or/and a dream of seeing what could be.

There were a few past conversations that I am reflecting on today, and that is, what propels me – love or anger? And is anger (or, ahem, “zeal”?) part of love? Maybe angered passion is a passion that lacks trust in God, that must be assuaged with prayer.

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What is theology for?

I like free things so I signed up for an 8-week course offered by the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) on Lutheran theology. This course provides me the opportunity to discover key topics from the Lutheran line of theology. But the best thing about it so far is the opportunity to hear and engage with Lutherans all over the world who experience different contexts and are required to bring the Gospel to these contexts, including places of unimaginable social and political difficulties such as India and Chile.

I will try to post weekly, structuring my posts into three distinct topics, where I share stuff that touched my heart (through my mind)*:

  1. What deeply impacted me from the instructor for the week,
  2. My gleanings from the readings,
  3. What I’m hearing from the experiences in other countries.

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7 reasons why I consider myself a Methodist (and why I am ecumenical)

So today, I was in a conference call at home for the short course I am taking on Lutheran theology organised by the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. As the students introduced ourselves and our backgrounds, Mum overheard me describing myself as a Methodist, who is also ecumenical in outlook.

Over dinner, she asked me about it, wondering (doubting!) if I was truly a Methodist than an Anglican, which was essentially the church I was brought up in. The local church I belong to also does not necessarily fit the typical picture of a Methodist church in Malaysia. It was a really good question because it gave me the opportunity to put together my thoughts.

I proceeded to share with her why I am happy to consider myself at least Wesleyan, if not Methodist. I of course started with the fact that Wesley himself was an Anglican, so even if I did identify very much with the Anglican liturgy, I could still very well be Wesleyan. Anyway I don’t think there could be anything more Wesleyan than to have an Anglican background first. HAHA. But I am no expert on church history, so I go with what little I know.

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God’s People, An Alternative Society

List of Scripture references, bibliography and notes on bibliography available at the end.

Throughout the biblical narrative, God has acted to create or make an alternative society. This alternative society in turn is the conduit through which He performs His ever expansive plan of redemption which includes the salvation of humanity and renewal of the earth. Mind you, (and I emphasise this because the Reformation has resulted in the form of individualism prevalent in Christianity today but hardly seen before it’s time,) not to create perfect or God-fearing individuals per se, but to make a beautiful, loving, just society. This society is pictured in different ways in the Bible such as sheep, a bride, a priesthood, a nation. Basically, it is a “people”.

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