Bible study presenter Christian Rommert told the 16th Baptist Youth World Conference in Singapore that life in Christ is not about rules or systems, but about relationships. He cautioned the large gathering of youth from more than 60 countries against “going through the motions (of worship) without the inner motivation” and against “having the habits of faith without the heart of faith.”
Rommert, from Germany, led the morning meditation on the second day of the conference, which runs from July 17-21. The gathering then broke into smaller “family groups” of approximately 25 persons each for further reflection. These smaller groups allow delegates from various countries to connect with each other and offer perspectives from their own cultural contexts.
Rommert, a Baptist youth leader in his country, asserted that religion often “becomes more of a ritual than a real thing… more of a pattern than power… more structure than Spirit.” Christianity, he said, “is a way of loving, a way of forgiving, a way of caring, a way of prayer, a way of worship, a way of thanksgiving and praise, a way of being in tune with the Spirit of Jesus.”
Referring to the problems posed by secularism, Rommert stated that “there are some things between heaven and earth we don’t understand, but we have to believe them.” This is difficult for countries such as Germany, which prides itself as “the land of poets and thinkers” and for its history in science, university education and literature. “But sometimes it seems like we get into a dead-end with all of our knowledge. We get lost and feel thirsty and hungry and empty.”
Additionally, the youth were reminded that a commitment to justice is part of the call to being Christian. Wado Saw, a Myanmar refugee in the Mae La camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, testified to the difficulties faced by the tens of thousands of refugees from Myanmar who have been displaced due to conflicts in their homeland. Despite their desire for home, it is unlikely that their dreams will be realized anytime soon.
On each day of the conference, youth delegates gather in the Global Village to interact with each other and engage in cultural exchanges. The Village comprises exhibition booths, a “fringe stage” for youth to display their artistic talents and a social media center where they can upload and share media content while conference events stream live.
Baptist World Alliance®
© July 18, 2013