Owing to the time we’re in, different methods to attract younger persons into the church must be looked at, and older people have to be able to embrace young people and their different methods in the church, and trust the spirit of God to change persons, according to Maurice “D.J. GodSon” Fawkes who brought the house down when he was invited to speak at St. Gregory’s Anglican Church’s Youth Sunday service which saw them step outside of the box.
Addressing the senior members first, D.J. GodSon told them to allow the young people to be themselves. He said even though the method may change, the message doesn’t.
“It’s still the Gospel. It’s just that young people chose to do things and look at it differently.”
He reminded the senior members that in order for the church to grow, young people are needed.
“Young people know how to attract young people and so sometimes it’s good to listen to them and to hear what their methods are, and to even incorporate their methods into evangelizing or into making the service a bit more exciting in order for the church to grow. So while the method may change, the message will not change, which is Christ,” he said.
With all the jumping, hopping, skipping and shouting that took place at the Carmichael Road church on Sunday as D.J. GodSon spoke — which was totally outside the norm for the service — Father Sebastian Campbell said he hoped he would have a church edifice when it was all done.
D.J. GodSon factored the service totally around the children who were responsible for executing the service — from the readings, to leading the praise and worship, and the songs rendered that were all children/youth focused.
“He [D.J. GodSon] really rocked the boat,” said Campbell. “He really brought the house down for the children in taking the church outside of the box, and focused on the children. He had them jumping, and hopping, and skipping, and shouting as part of his message he related to them at their level. It was a really out of the box experience for them. I said wow — I hope I have a church when he’s finished.” said Campbell
But the St. Gregory’s priest said he really wanted that out of the box experience for his young parishioners.
“I really wanted to shake things up, because I think we really and truly need that. Too often we are afraid, but the most powerful way of bringing the message to the children is at their level — and that’s what I really wanted.”
Going into the out-of-the-box Sunday experience, the priest said he was a “little afraid” the older parishioners wouldn’t buy into it and give him trouble at the end of the day. To his surprise, he said he found that most of his older parishioners seemed to enjoy the service more than the children.
“When I looked in the church the older people were jumping, hopping, skipping, praising the Lord more so than the children,” said Campbell.
D.J. GodSon said he had been a little surprised when he got the invitation to speak at the service, as the Anglican Church is a very traditional service, but he said he realizes anything happens with God.
“To bring a deejay, and then to have me speak, it was kind of out of the box for them. At first I was a bit worried about it, but then I knew that once you listen to God, that God will make all things possible
“A lot of people came to me after the service to say that they enjoyed it, that it was a message that was needed and that I hit on some good points. And to hear a lot of people in the Anglican Church saying amen and hallelujah and agreeing with what you’re saying …”
The deejay also spoke to the children about John the Baptist and his purpose, and their purpose.
“One of John the Baptist’s main purpose was to spread the gospel and to also baptize Jesus.”
In speaking to the children, D.J. GodSon spoke to the children about their purpose at school, the church, their community, their purpose personally and their purpose at home.
He also spoke to the adults about their territorial nature, but he encouraged them to adopt the each one and teach one method. He challenged them to adopt one or two young persons to mentor in the church and to teach them what they do in their respective ministries that they work in at the church. He said adults can train the youth so that they can one day take it over and run it properly. He told them that making the various ministries and church more exciting attracts people.
D.J. GodSon told them to remember the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, and said communities are the way they are today because people have neglected that mentality.
“We see things and say nothing,” he said.
The deejay is looking forward to making a repeat appearance at the church in the not too distant future.
Youth Sunday is an annual event at the church to bring the academic year to a close in a positive mode as children go into their respective summer programs, and to honor youth leaders and bring attention to their work. Campbell noted however, that this was the first time it was turned up and turned out in this fashion.
He hopes they can have a youth experience every month going forward.
“I’m going to challenge them. Turn it over to them and see what they do, so they wouldn’t blame me anymore for keeping them in spiritual enslavement,” said Campbell. “I hope it becomes a part of our repertoire, and the young people themselves would give greater leadership, because in this one we were imposing on them so to speak and now I hope that they would run with it.”