God Cen­tred con­fab re­spond­ing to shift in cul­ture

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Shanna Kaye Mon­teih Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

BORN OUT of the re­al­i­sa­tion that there are sev­eral gospel con­certs for young Chris­tians, but not enough fora for solid gospel-cen­tred teach­ings to ed­ify these be­liev­ers, the Chris­tian Life Fel­low­ship Church ini­ti­ated an an­nual con­fer­ence ti­tled ‘God Cen­tred’.

The eighth stag­ing of the God Cen­tred con­fer­ence was held ear­lier this month and the or­gan­is­ers have re­vealed that the fo­rum has, so far, been rak­ing in favourable re­views.

Team leader Gary Mes­sado told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion that the ini­tia­tive, which kicked off in 2009, has grown con­sid­er­ably over the years.

“The con­fer­ence has gained mo­men­tum as we seek to equip teens and young adults by fo­cus­ing on themes that will help them to grow in the knowl­edge of God’s will in key ar­eas of their lives.

“Over the years, per­sons from var­i­ous churches have caught the vi­sion of our de­sire to chal­lenge our gen­er­a­tion to live God-cen­tred lives, and so our team in­volves per­sons from many churches span­ning de­nom­i­na­tions.

“So far, peo­ple have re­sponded well to our ap­proach of hav­ing re­lat­able and dy­namic bib­li­cal teach­ing mixed with var­i­ous art forms of min­istry, for ex­am­ple, singing, spo­ken word, danc­ing, drama, and so on, which are all geared at ef­fec­tively en­gag­ing our gen­er­a­tion to walk wor­thy of the awe­some call we have in Christ,” he shared.

Mes­sado pointed out that a school tour was added to the move­ment in 2013.

This, he said, was done to bring the mes­sage of be­ing God­cen­tred to youth who would not make it to the con­fer­ence.

“The tour hap­pens ev­ery Oc­to­ber, where we lead de­vo­tions in sev­eral high schools, rang­ing from the tra­di­tional ones to small un­pop­u­lar schools in the in­ner city.

“Out­side of the school tour, we are in­vited to lead de­vo­tions, a day of prayer, or a spir­i­tual em­pha­sis day in high schools through­out the year,” he said, adding that they tar­get cer­tain high schools to do weekly af­ter­school Bi­ble stud­ies.

Mes­sado said that this year’s con­fer­ence was aimed at equip­ping Chris­tians (targeting ages 15 to 40 years) to re­spond bib­li­cally to the shift in the cul­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to him: “We are liv­ing in a time where Chris­tian­ity is in­creas­ingly not be­ing con­sid­ered the norm in so­ci­ety. Peo­ple are dis­cred­it­ing the author­ity of the Bi­ble as the word of God and Chris­tians are be­ing la­belled as ‘big­ots’. The con­se­quence of this is that it is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing dif­fi­cult for Chris­tians to en­gage the cul­ture. We recog­nise that be­liev­ers will be tempted to re­spond in some un­bib­li­cal ways, like con­form­ing to the cul­ture or re­treat­ing from it, but God is call­ing us to en­counter the cul­ture.”

The three-day con­fer­ence saw spe­cial guests speak­ers, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional artiste Da’ T.R.U.T.H., who dis­cussed var­i­ous ways in which Chris­tians should en­gage to­day’s cul­ture.

Mes­sado ad­mit­ted that this has been their largest con­fer­ence as they had more than 450 peo­ple in at­ten­dance, rep­re­sent­ing 80 churches across the is­land.

In­ter­na­tional artiste Da’ T.R.U.T.H. dis­cussing var­i­ous ways in which Chris­tians should en­gage to­day’s cul­ture.

Mem­bers of the God Cen­tred team.

Mem­bers of the au­di­ence at the God Cen­tred con­fer­ence in Oc­to­ber.

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