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GB as church

Taken from the Winter 2009 edition of GB magazine, The View

It can be a struggle getting girls and young women to attend church or church parades on a Sunday.

This edition of Culture Check-up looks at the issue of church going and how, for many girls, going to Girls’ Brigade is their ‘church’.

Stage 1 – scan

Is it hard work getting the members of your company to attend church or special GB events on a Sunday?
If the answer to the question is ‘yes’ – you’re not alone. For a variety of reasons it can be hard getting your young people along to church.
That’s why the concept of GB as ‘church’ is so vital. For many girls it’s the main, if not the only place, where they experience God, encounter His word, learn to care for one another, to pray and to serve.

Stage 2 – symptoms

There are many reasons why some young people don’t attend church on a Sunday. These may include:

  • Spending time with their parents – many may come from families that have broken up and so spend time at the weekends with the parent they don’t live with during the week
  • They perceive church as boring, dull and not relevant to their lives
  • Their parents don’t encourage them to attend or go to church themselves
  • Helping their parents with chores such as cleaning or shopping
  • Pursuing other hobbies such as football or swimming
  • In paid employment
  • Catching up with school work.

Stage 3 – assessment

Talk to the other leaders in your company about ways you can encourage the girls and young women to attend church.
Don’t put pressure on any of the young people to attend as they might not have any say in family commitments.
If it’s a special GB service try and chat to the parents/carers about how their daughter is playing a part in it and it would be lovely if they could come. Extend the invite to the parents/carers too – sometimes people feel they need to be asked and aren’t confident to just turn up.
If you think your young people aren’t attending because of the style of worship, why not look into what they would like instead? You may be able to set up a youth fellowship, ask the church to have a family service on a regular basis or take the girls to a different church on a regular basis.

Stage 4 – referral

Sometimes it’s hard not to get hung up about how many of the girls and young women in your company do or don’t attend church.
So it’s important to remember we don’t ‘go’ to church – we ‘are’ the church. Attending church is about meeting with a group of people to worship, such as at GB.
It can be very easy to compartmentalise our lives – such as we go to church on a Sunday, work on a Monday and have fun on a Saturday. But we’re a Christian every day of the week no matter what we’re doing and not just on Sundays. Why not look at this issue with your older girls and young women? Or lead a discussion about why we’re supposed to rest on a Sunday?

Stage 5 – case studies

Rachel Henry, 18, of 61st Birmingham, recently got baptised on a GB company night instead of on a Sunday.
Reflect on this example and think about what your company needs to do or say to be real and relevant church among girls and young women.

Stage 6 – prescription

If the girls and young women in your company can’t attend church on a Sunday, why not think about ways in which you can bring church to them on a company night?
As well as weekly devotions, you may like to think about holding church services – such as harvest and a carol service – on a company night. These services could be linked into awards nights for your young people or a chance for them to participate in the services with activities such as singing or a drama sketch. They could also be open to the congregation and GB member’s families.
It might also be useful to help your church see that GB is part of its mission in the local community – for more details look into GB’s new bridge the gap resource – a new initiative to build church and company relations.

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