Why Young People Leave the UMC: A Reaction from Ms. M

Hi everyone, thanks so much for your interest in my previous blogpost: Why Filipino Young People Leave Traditional Christian Denominations.

I may have hit on a palpable pain point in the church. But not surprisingly, hindi lang United Methodist Church ang may ganitong problema. I heard from several friends and other online connections na nasa ibang churches about their own problem of young people leaving traditional churches in favor of the CF’s.

I just feel compelled to provide a disclaimer: I love the United Methodist Church and this is an attempt to understand why young people are leaving the church. We need to have honest conversations about faith and spirituality. In the end, this is a question of ministry and loving people.

With that said, I am posting several reactions to the post last week. This one is from a former UMYF leader who is still within the UMC, but who actively attends one of the CF’s in Metro Manila. I changed some of the details of the story below, but I believe it reflects a lot of the realities that young Methodists face.

Please comment in a civilized manner. I will not tolerate rude, condescending, or any comment that will not help in understanding this matter. You can express surprise, hurt, or any emotion you may feel in reaction to this post, but do so in love and respect. – Mighty

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image credit: TheGospelCoalition.org

Right now, I still help out in the UMYFP in our district somewhere in the Manila Episcopal Area. I still serve our local church. But here in Manila, I am active in _CF Makati & Sundays at _CF Ubelt.

Why?

1. Growth

When I went to college in the España U-Belt area, I was active in the Upperbox Ministry of Central UMC and with the Vesper Choir. This was my inactive years in UMYF back home due to distance & my study schedule.

Honestly, all I desired was to serve God & people. I didn’t have personal devotion time and even a discipleship group which really focuses on my spiritual walk like the set-up of the 12 apostles, Paul & Timothy.

I was seriously drained, and there came a major blow in my life that I hit rock bottom, I was physically alone battling that struggle. So I asked for help from one of my UMYF friends who iwas already active in _CF. From that time on, i was refueled & revived.

2. Foundational Confirmation classes, SCYD & institutes are a general approach with a blur on the results if an individual will decide to have a Jesus-centered & Bible-based life.

Right now, what i learned from _CF in terms of individual discipleship, I try to implement and integrate with my UMYF friends one step at a time. I specifically minister by engaging and empowering leaders based on their individual needs/skills/stories.

3. Politics

Traditional churches like the UMC have become bureaucratic institutions, sadly. With the UMC, our authority is based on the book of discipline & book of worship, not the Bible alone.

In CFs, it’s very simple, the Bible alone is the basis of behavior and ministry, period.

The political atmosphere is a major wall, but like Jericho’s, this generation can make that wall fall, it will be a long process but nothing is impossible with God.

4. Role Models and Persecution

The youth is the most persecuted group in the church. Other organizations and lay leaders in the church cannot handle the allegedly misbehavior of the young people, therefore they leave the place that should mend them & welcome their brokenness. Personally in our local church, the budget for the youth was cut off because the youth are perceived to “misbehave” and are “pasaway”, that the church does not trust them anymore compared to the previous batches of the UMYF.

In CF’s, brokenness or misbehavior is treated with love and compassion w/c was the example of Jesus Christ as he communed with sinners & prostitutes.

Honestly, a lot of our UMYFers have no role models anymore. Because even the workers are “misbehaving” in front of the youth.

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Over to you. Have you experienced the same things that Ms. M had? Are you also attending the UMC and at the same time attending a CF Church? Share your thoughts in the comments.

7 Comments

  1. I was active in the umc youth for a while, then stopped attendin UMC altogether for the CFs. Te reason? The “high” I felt in CFs. It’s a shallow feeling, yes, and I equated the high with feelings of “being truly in God’s presence.” The energy of the worship leaders, the compliant crowd’s reactions, the lights, te music–these will all draw you in. You’ll feel like you made the right choice in turning your back on your rigid, traditional, and stuffy UMC. How can being close to God be a wrong choice, right?

    But I know better. The high, like all other highs, faded after about four years. I found that it is just a mask, a strategy to entice worshipers and get tithes. In the end, the CFs are just all about the tithes. Everything they do, they do it for the prospect of more money. They guilt trip you by saying that without tithes, you won’t receive blessings. So you give, like all the other sheep in the crowd. You study the Bible according to them–a simplistic, overly positive, selfish version of the Bible. They preach prosperity and all the good things you will receive if you tithe. They don’t preach the hard truths of being a Christia–that life will go wrong even if you’re a believer. That you won’t get everything you ask for. That you will feel isolated, be tempted, be ignored. That you have to follow difficult commandments that are mandatory. CFs don’t preach that! They don’t want to turn off the audience eh.

    CFs are one big business. Return to your old churches that do not dilute and soften the Word.

  2. Tonight, I was looking in my prayer calendar. We are asked to pray for the Philippines United Methodist Youth to promote holiness in leadership development. You are being prayed for by many people, so many that you will never met. This problem is not unique to you. It resides throughout the world. Continue to ask questions and look for answers. God will provide. Let Him possess your mind and fill it with His love.
    Des Moines, IA, USA

  3. This article helped me alot, kuya Mighty! My church is not particularly a UMC but I know some young people who decided to move to another church (specifically CF’s). I’m not really against them or what, but it saddens me to know that we are not expanding God’s Kingdom rather naglilipatan lang ng mga tupa. I’d love to read more posts concerning this issues. God bless this ministry!

  4. I was about to leave UMC before when I became active on the CF’s. I’ve seen the differences on how people encourage and inspire others. When I go back in our home church in our province, my heart was so painful and feel sorry of what is happening in our church.
    “Masakit, mahirap at nakakabasag ng puso ang makita mong ang iyong kinalakihang simbahan ay parang unti-unti nang nawawala. After I learned a lot from my experiences with my CF families, I decided to go back to our church (UMC) and set my mind with the guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit that I should stay i n my church. “Sinong magmamalasakit sa UMC kung iiwan at lalayuan ko sila?” maybe most of us doesn’t wanna go back to UMC kasi we’ve seen that it has no growth, but I encourage you guys, All UMYF and UMYAF lets impart to the UMC what we have learned in the CF’s. Dadating ang panahon, the whole UMC will be revived. CHRIST ABOVE ALL and IN JESUS STEPS.

    PS. Kuya mighty, can we use your article in our publication here in our church?
    thanks and God bless

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