This is a topic that I am very passionate about! My husband and I served in Youth Ministry for fourteen years before he became a Campus Family Pastor. We love everything about kids and students! We love to see them grow and mature in the Lord. We love to help them discover who they are in Christ. We love walking with them through the growing pains of the adolescent years.
But, just the other day as I was scrolling through my news feed, I saw several people post pictures about students, being as they said, “future leaders." This is not the first time I have heard students being referred to as “the future of the church or the future of the school," etc. I know there is nothing but great intentions when these phrases are used, but there is a part of me that becomes so very sad.
The students we teach and minister to are far from the future of the church...they are a huge, intricate part of the church today! We have seen firsthand what impact kids and students are making in the here and now. I don’t know about you, but I want my kids and others that I am around to know that they are just as important to the Kingdom work now as they will be when they are eighty-five years old. I bet if you have ever worked with kids or students, you totally get what I am saying!
This is nothing unusual. We see so many times in Scripture where the Lord chose young people to accomplish great and mighty things! Let’s take a look:
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Our daughter has been a believer for two years now. We have watched her grow so much in her walk with the Lord. Just a couple of months ago we received a call from one of her friends who had questions about salvation. They asked if we could stop by their house, so I asked Macy if she wanted to go with me. She said, “Why wouldn’t I? She would feel more comfortable with me there!” Well, of course, she would!
I watched as my daughter walked her friend through the plan of salvation. She watched as her friend prayed to have Jesus live in her heart. Talk about a mamma's heart about to explode!
NO...she doesn’t have to wait until she is older! She has much more boldness than I could have ever dreamed of having when I was her age and sometimes even now. She loves to pray out loud. She invites her friends to church. She is not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I remind her frequently not ever to lose that love and desire she has for the Lord and for people.
Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. Jeremiah 1:7
We must encourage our youth to be all that God has called them to be! They play a huge role in the church, the home, the school and wherever they are doing life. Someone becomes part of a church when they are saved and are obedient in baptism, not when they have money to tithe or can serve on a committee.
We must start taking notice and discipling our youth as they grow in their faith. We must help keep their fire for the Lord alive! I believe that if we sit back and observe, we as adults can learn quite a bit from these “present day leaders."
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!