“Young” and “old” are two words that seem to depend totally on perspective for their meaning. A little boy told me this week that I wouldn’t be really old until I was 45. To most of us, that seems pretty young. His comment, though, along with a couple of other events over the last week got me to thinking about various age groups in the church.
Last week we held our Pioneer Clubs Kid’s Carnival at church and were blessed with a great turnout of kids, but also of adults that were just there to help out and spend time with our young people. Then, on Sunday a group of our teens presented a readers’ theatre for our morning worship that was very well done and a tremendous challenge to all of us.
It was truly a joy for me this last week to see the body of Christ of all ages interacting with and ministering to each other. What a blessing to watch as one of our adults stood with his arm around a young man just talking and as some grandmas helped little ones go from game to game and as teens worked with adult leaders to lead the entire church in a morning of worship. As I had the opportunity last week to observe and participate, and now to reflect, I am more convinced that we want this to be the norm in our church and not the exception.
This is the way God wants his family to function. I appreciate children’s program workers and youth leaders, but we cannot relegate the training and care of young people to just a few workers. It is the responsibility of the entire body. I was also challenged by the tremendous job the teens did that we must treat them as equal parts of the body of Christ and allow them opportunity to serve and minister. With guidance and training, they are quite capable of serving in many ways that have often been reserved for a few select adults.
For this to happen, we as adults must take the initiative. We should do all that we can to reach out to our young people and to encourage them in their walk with the Lord. It is easy to become so concerned with our own selves that we neglect the younger members of the body of Christ, but Paul makes it clear as he speaks to Titus that older and more mature Christians in the church family should be a part of the spiritual growth of the younger believers (Titus 2:1-10). The responsibility of teaching, training and protecting our young people is one that belongs to all of us. As we see in this passage in Titus, we should first provide them with an example to follow, and then provide them with instruction and guidance as to how to follow that example.
Every believer should recognize that they have a part to play in the growth and development of our young people. It’s easy to pass off that responsibility to a couple of willing leaders, but I don’t believe that is God’s plan. If nothing else, we can all commit ourselves to live as a faithful example and to be always in prayer for the teens and children who are part of our church. I can assure you that as you invest yourself in these young people, you in turn will be blessed -perhaps a little tired, but very blessed!