The Bishop of Gloucester, Rt Rev Rachel Treweek hosted a conference on Tuesday for youth leaders and adults who work with young people to share knowledge on how the church can reach young people with an unbeatable message of security.
Prompted by the ‘beach body ready’ advert in 2015 and statistics from the YMCA that say more than a third of 11 to 16 year olds said they were willing to do ‘whatever it takes to look good’, Bishop Rachel felt body image was an area where Christians really do have something to say.
She told Premier: “Firstly, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe every person is valued, precious, made in the image of God and deeply valued by God. Therefore it really concerns me that the messages that particularly young people are bombarded with are about their value coming from their appearance.”
Her second point was that teenagers are already talking about this, so it is easy for Christians to engage with when we’ve got such an appealing alternative: “If the church wants to be connecting with young people, we need to be hearing what their concerns are and this has been subject young people have been really willing to open up about.”
When asked if there is Biblical guidance when Christians feel insecure, Bishop Rachel said there “most definitely is” and cited Psalm 139 and when Samuel is told to anoint the next King and God says he does not judge by outward appearance.
She added that the fact Christians believe God loves them no matter what they look like should be told to non-believers also: “Now, some of the people at the conference would not identity as Christians and yet I still want to say that the reason I’m doing this is because I know from scripture, I know God really cares about you. God is in the business of transforming us, of valuing us, that’s what Christ’s cross and resurrection are about”
Click here to listen to the whole interview with Premier's Cara Bentley:
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