In Summary

PRAYER TIME. Rather than faith, some youth are drawn by a number of factors to attend church to the extent of leaving some for others. They share their views with Zuurah Karungi.

“I converted from Catholic to Pentecostal because the sermons in the Born-Again church address challenges we face daily and we are also given hope of overcoming them,” notes Teddy Kajumba, a third-year student at Makerere University.

Just like Kajumba, a number of youths are drawn by various reasons to their respective places of worship, Martin Sengendo, a student at Makerere University, attends a church where most of his friends go.
“I believe God hears you regardless of where you pray from. The Bible is the same, sermons are the same, so where you pray from does not matter,” Sengendo says.

Music and dance
Kajumba adds that since music is part of worship, some youth are attracted by the gospel music. She says this is the reason most youth run to Born Again churches, they are given enough time to sing, worship and praise God yet in traditional churches prayers are more serious.
“Dance groups make the church service more interesting since they use modern dance moves. So, instead of joining secular music dance troupes, we do the same thing with gospel music which draws a number of youth to church and it makes praying is fun” says Ivan Kizza, a Senior Two student.

Jackline Masiika, a banker, says she goes to listen to music and relax her mind. This beckons her to church every evening and at the weekend.
“Most Pentecostal churches play lively music most time of the day and this is where I spend most of my evenings,” Masiika explains.

Style of preaching and message
Different preachers have different styles of preaching, starting with the way they package their message and how they put it out.
Some preachers do more of condemning than giving hope and advising so youth will avoid those churches and go to where they preach messages of hope.

“I had no job and would always go to a certain church to pray because I had nothing to do during the day,” says Peter *not real name.
“While there, the pastor kept telling me how I will get a well paying job before the year ends. I kept praying while applying for different jobs and before 2016 ended, I had landed the job,” he explains.
From that day, he has never gone to any other church because he believes the pastor made him well-off.
Just like Peter, Idah Naggayi left the Anglican church for Pentecostal church because she was healed from some evil spirit that used to attack her in the night.
Naggayi had lived with it for more than 15 years, whenever it attacked her, she lost her speech and would not walk. When she met her pastor, he exorcised the spirit after some days of fasting and praying.

The preacher
Many youth believe the preacher entices them to join a particular mass. “There is what we call belief, every time a pastor you trust, prays for you, you get what you want. That way, you can never leave their church for any other,” notes Kajumba.
Betty* not real name, went back to the Catholic church when she heard a homily of Fr Kiibi Kateregga at Mowzey Radio’s requiem mass at Rubaga Cathedral.
“I loved the way he preached to celebrities and taught them how to behave around other people. This made me realise that traditional church preachers do not preach to impress,” she explains.

People love listening to successful stories as they relate to their situations. Most people love going to church to hear testimonies to get hope that their lives will be better. Kajumba says one gets relieved when they share their stories with others.
Ritah Nyangoma, a mother of two, says: “faith is about how you teach the children about their faith and getting them involved in things that appeal to them.”

Did you know?
Young adults with Christian experience say the church is not a place that allows them to express doubts. They do not feel safe admitting that sometimes Christianity does not make sense. In addition, many feel that the church’s response to doubt is trivial. Some of the perceptions in this regard include not being able to ask most pressing life questions in church and having significant intellectual doubts about faith.