As a middle school and high school student I can remember hearing this phrase quite often, “The youth are the future of the church.” I attended a private Christian school and attended church just about every Sunday so as you can imagine I remember hearing this phrase quite often. I personally don’t think there is anything negative being communicated when people say this, I do believe that it is meant to be encouraging. It is a nice gesture with the intent to help students realize that at some point in the future they need to take responsibility and get involved in serving at church.
However, hearing this phrase as I was growing up I think it caused me to miss out on a valuable lesson. It created a mindset in my head were I felt one day I could make a difference, one day I could start serving, one day I could really invest in peoples lives and make a difference. Instead of realizing that God could use me right then in that moment.
"hearing this phrase as I was growing up
I think it caused me to miss out on a valuable lesson"
At fifteen years old I felt called to ministry, specifically youth ministry working with middle school and high school students. God had placed a youth pastor and many other adult leaders in my life during my middle and high school years that really made a huge impact on my life. Those adult leaders really invested in me, loved me, cared about me and really showed me what it meant to follow Christ. They left such a lasting impact on my life and I knew one day I wanted to do the same for others.
I felt that call at fifteen years old, but I didn’t start serving in any capacity at church for another three years. Now I often think back on those three years and wonder and why it really took me so long for me to get involved. I know a lot of it had to do with fear; I’ll be honest I was scared to get involved. But despite that fear I knew one thing was for sure; I honestly felt that I was to young to really make a difference.
I remember thinking to myself; “could God really use a fifteen year old kid?” As I look back at it now, twelve years later, I know the answer to that question is YES. God didn’t want me to wait! When I was fifteen years old, I wasn’t the future of the church…I was a key member of the church right then at that moment.
The Bible is full of stories where teenagers and young kids are used in huge ways! David was a young man when he fought Goliath, Mary was probably a young teenager at the time she gave birth to Jesus, and many believe the disciples were probably teenagers.
God has used young people in many great ways, and you know what, He will continue to do just that.
So what’s the point of me saying all of this? I say all of this to say…don’t wait, your time is now! God wants to use you right now.
"…don’t wait, your time is now!"
If you're a student reading this I encourage you to get involved and start serving somewhere at Palm Canyon. You don’t have to wait till you’re an “adult” to make a difference you can get off the bench and get into the game right now. God’s been preparing you for ministry, he’s given you gifts, talents, abilities, passions, interests, experiences and so on so could you them to make a difference in peoples lives. Tomorrow is not your time; today is.
If you’re a parent reading this, you have an awesome opportunity to support, encourage and equip your student to make a difference. I truly believe this generation is going to be used by God in powerful ways. Let’s help point them in the right direction.
As I wrap this up let me leave you with an encouragement:
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
When people say you are too young, you’re not smart enough or experienced enough to make a difference, don’t listen to them! Instead, set an example for people of all ages to follow in the way you talk, act, love and believe.
"Instead, set an example for people of all ages
to follow in the way you talk, act, love and believe."
When you set an example for others it will point people to Jesus, and from there He’ll do the rest. Lives will be changed. You can make a difference. No matter your age!