The Methodist Church of Southern Africa THE WESLEY GUILD
THE AIM OF THE GUILD MOVEMENT
The aim of the Guild movement is that of young people banding together to help one another grow in Christian maturity. In pursuing this aim the movement has come to realise the need for a model to help in planning an to remind it of the facets of a young person’s life. The model which we have chosen is that known as the 4 C’s. These are:
learning to dedicate our lives to Christ and commit ourselves to His service.
creating a fellowship of young Methodists and other Christians in our society, country and world, and committing ourselves to one another and our spiritual growth.
learning to understand ourselves in the world and to be creative in it.
Committing ourselves to the well being of others at all levels of need.
Our programmes use these four elements to balance us and lead us toward full Christian maturity within a community. These elements have a traditional part of our programming for young people. They have not always been understood and have become an end in themselves. We will explore them further and provide some examples of how even the most important needs in the life of young people can be met by an imaginative use of the building blocks of the 4 C’s.
The 4 C’s:
The Guild might be the only contact many have with the Christian faith. For others it will be the place to which they come expecting to learn more. Thus a living fellowship needs to be encouraged. The whole focus of the Guild should be to show commitment to the One who loves us. Bringing young people to a full dedication of their lives to God and His world will mean an active programme of evangelism and teaching.
The Guild can be a place where truth is sought through the life and tradition around us. Guilders can be encouraged to question, to be creative, and to learn. By providing programmes which help people to grow intellectually without losing touch with the cultural roots which provide such an exciting part of the world today, the Guild can be used in nation building. Extending young people’s awareness of the world around them; the way in which it operates; structures of government, policy making, traditional authority, language and other institutions; all these will mingle with programmes which enhance the lives of Guilders through acceptance of cultural traditions and changing lifestyles.
No matter how active the Guild seems to be, it will only be when the members begin to function as servants to the community and the church that the Guild will act as a light to others. All the reflection and learning of the other elements now becomes action. As Christians engage in service which brings in the Kingdom of God, there will be many occasions when relief will be necessary. Droughts, disasters, and the daily grind of oppression make this necessary. At the same time Christian servants realise that love will attempt, where possible, to relieve permanently, such distress through community action and organising. The Guild will seek to make changes as well as provide relief.
Maintaining the Guild is an important function. This will include an active programme to introduce and incorporate (make part of the body) new people. Building up trust and celebrating the togetherness of the Guild will be joined to programmes which encourage individuals in personal growth. Comradeship also includes being part of the larger body of the Church. This can often be a neglected area of growth and the Guild can play an active part in helping integrate young people into the Church.
The creation of a fellowship of Christians across all barriers of race and creed, based on an understanding of young people created in the image of God will help to establish a sign of the Kingdom in Southern Africa.
So the 4 C’s meet the young people where they are providing an experience of belonging (comradeship) altruism and service (Christian service), spirituality (Consecration) and understanding of self and the world (Culture and Comradeship).
Another way of looking at the 4 C’s would be to see how they correspond to the psychologist Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These are physical needs of safety and security, the need for belonging, self-esteem and finally self actualization. The 4 C’s focus particularly on the final 3, but as Guilders are involved in Christian service so they help to meet the needs of others.
Youth clubs invariably consist of people at all levels of commitment. Each Guild should have some idea of these groups, from those who are highly committed, to those who are coming to meet their own needs only: Clearly some people will be willing to plan and put programmes into practice. Others will be those who participate only. Each Guild will need to develop a policy for membership. This membership should not exclude anyone who wants to join in. After all, the Guild, like the church, exists for those outside of it. Nevertheless, those who become members should be aware that this involves both rights and duties. The rights, or better, privileges include those of personal and spiritual growth, comradeship, the freedom to express opinions and constructive criticism, and finally, the right of deciding on the policies of the Guild. This is the feature which distinguishes the member from the non-member.
Many youth groups have no young people who help to decide on policy of the Guild. By setting out a membership policy, the young people will begin to own the Guild for themselves. Duties of the members include openness and a willingness to participate, attendance at all functions, loyalty to the Guild and involvement in the projects of the Guild. In addition to this might be the requirement that Guilders join a class meeting or a mission group.
Every Guild will choose an appropriate name for its operation in the local area. Officially it will be known by the Methodist Society which it is linked. The way in which a Guild operates will be related to the situation in which it finds itself. Whichever way a Guild is organised, it should try to involve all Guilders in some way. The gifts and talents of the members should be drawn out and encouraged.
The Guild consists of not less than 10 people and will meet regularly at least once a month. Although it will adapt to the environment it will use the model of the 4 C’s in planning its programmes.