Our pastor repeated an old saying the other night in his message and it bears repeating. Often:
“The church is always one generation away from extinction.”
The simple reason for that is the youth of today’s church are the leaders of it tomorrow.
Because of this, it should be obvious that churches ought to take their commitment to their youth very seriously. Youth should be a priority today if the church expects them to be those future leaders. Many church members often are hesitant to engage the youth due to a lack of confidence that they can minister effectively to them. Others believe the youth really have no interest in the things of God. Still others question the value of the youth in the church today. In all my years of working with youth, I have discovered that the church that takes care of their youth today, and values them as integral members of the church will not suffer the “great migration” of teenagers from the church.
Some people believe that they are not “cut out to minister to teenagers.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. To minister to teens is to do nothing more than engage them. Asking them how their week was or how their mom was doing if she is sick will demonstrate care and concern.
A popular notion today is that teens are not interested in the things of God. I am sure there are some that don’t give church or God a second thought. Remember, God is not finished drawing others to Himself. Teens are just beginning to figure out that “all that glitters is not gold.” They are learning that what the world offers is temporary but there is One that offers unchanging truth they can build their lives on.
The church is valuable to them because it can offer them a safe place with other teens who want to live Godly lives. Because of that, youth ministry can have a two pronged effect; youth who stay and grow in the Lord because they WANT to and parents who sense this is what the church is about are more likely to BRING their whole family to worship services.
Youth are very valuable to the church right now. The sooner the church creates an environment that welcomes youth and encourages them to live Godly lives, the sooner it will ensure a strong future for the church today and strong leaders for tomorrow.