We hear it all the time ... "The young people are the future of our nation."
That's true. What our nation -- or our republic -- will become in the future depends heavily upon how today's youngsters choose to live their lives, leverage their numbers, and so on. It also depends upon how they perceive the present. Future decisions will be influenced by what young people see today and how they feel about it.
Our nation should be looking out for our children and teens, because they will be running the show sooner than we may think. We need to engage them in the various aspects of life in America -- politics, social issues, conservation, etc. We need to do so in an age-appropriate manner, of course. But they need to know what is going on in the country they call home.
The church universal is faced with the same types of challenges.
How do we engage our young people in church life? How do we interest them in spiritual things? How do we encourage them to look outside of themselves and at the spiritual needs of others?
Many churches -- from the smallest rural assembly to the largest mega-church -- have fine children and youth programs. Many of these are focused on the Bible while relating Biblical truths to the tough decisions and challenges facing youngsters today. Others focus primarily on activities and social events, hoping to build community among the young people involved. Still others focus on missions and how youth can grow spiritually by lending a helping hand to someone in need.
The youth group at our church will be taking to the platform this Sunday evening. They will lead the entire service. I have been assured by the youth leaders that we should expect something totally different than what we are used to. For some reason, I'm not the least bit nervous about turning the church over to a bunch of junior high and high school students who love the Lord. I am sure they will do a great job.
I think that's a big part of what being a community of faith is all about -- teaching others to love and trust the Lord; telling them it's OK to soar and then giving them the opportunity to spread their wings and fly.