Controversial 11th Commandment Campaign allows Methodists to Recognise Cultural Gap Problem

As a church grows bigger, people of all ages and cultures will come to gather as one big family. At the same time, problems may arise because of the differences between one another. This problem has been a common challenge for all churches.

The Methodist Church of Great Britain has especially launched a campaign to understand better the culture of under-40's, so as to find a solution for the cultural disintegration between the young people and traditional Methodists within the denomination.

One of the activities in the series of campaign is a nationwide competition to find the 11th Commandment, which will be ended today. Entrants are encouraged to text suggestions for the 11th Commandment to a special number and the five best Commandment-writers, to be announced in April, will receive a prize.

The competition was developed by a Methodist discussion group consisting of people in their 20's’s and 30's. The group was chaired by Rev Jonathan Kerry, the Methodist Church's co-coordinating secretary for worship and learning.

As soon as the competition will be ended today, Rev Kerry reports, "we have already received thousands of entries, from all across the world. Just as we hoped, this has really got people talking about what really matters in life to them, about the Bible and how to use technology to spark spiritual debate."

Roger Hutchings, a member of the 20s and 30s Initiative, has been conducting meetings with small groups of young adults as well as groups operating a thoroughly traditional Methodist set-up.

Through many honest and tough talks, he concludes,"there's no doubt that there's a serious cultural gap between the lifestyle and experience of many people in the under 40's age-group and the style of Methodism." Especially they concern about the public worship style of Methodist Church, where both language and music seems to come from another age.

Mr Hutchings even discovers, "the traditional Methodists acknowledged that there is, even in a stable community like theirs, a widening gap between their accepted values and those of their neighbors and colleagues."

According to Mr Hutchings, the campaign has provided precious opportunity that all the British Methodists can come together to find out a solution, "bridging that gap effectively to proclaim the gospel is becoming very, very tough, and Methodists around Britain are perhaps finding it easier to listen to and talk to each other."

Nevertheless, the campaign has attracted criticism for its "ridiculous gimmickry" and its attempt "to rewrite the Bible".

The Rev John Roberts, the general secretary of the evangelical Lord's Day Observance Society, said that he was satisfied that 10 Commandments were sufficient.

"It's ridiculous," he said, "Churches are all trying to use gimmicks to attract more people when what we should be doing is presenting the message of the Bible, not rewriting it.?

Mr Kerry still insists, "The Church is serious about finding contemporary ways to communicate."