Youth and the Church
The future of a country or a
family depends very much upon its youths. This also applies to a church. Youths
have great influence on the future of a church.
Youths are the strength of the
church. During the time of Moses, God instructed him to select men who were
above twenty years of age; men who were strong and capable for war. The total
number selected was 603,550. They were the guards of the nation of Israel who
fought against the stronghold of the enemies (Num 1:3, 46). Similarly, youths
of today should also strive to be the soldiers of God, strong and formidable,
to engage in spiritual warfare (2 Tim 2:3).
Youths are teachers to children.
Elect of the Old Testament times appointed teachers to instruct their children
of the laws of God (Rom 2:20). The church has set up religious education
classes to teach the truth to the young. The most suitable teachers are the
Youths are the successors of the
church. Moses not only served the Lord, he trained up Joshua to be his
successor (Ex 33:11; Num 27:15-20). In order to bring about a steady growth in
the church, the leaders must train up youths in the church (cf. Mk 3:14,15).
Youths should be conscious of
their commission. Moses was brought up and educated in the palace. Later he
forsook his position, wealth and enjoyment and chose to suffer with the
Israelites in order to deliver them from the clutches of Pharaoh (Heb
11:24-26). Esther was an orphan. Yet God made her the Queen of Persia. She was
not conscious of her commission until she was reminded by Mordecai that the
existence of her people was at stake because Haman, the prime minister wanted
to annihilate the entire race. On learning the terrible news she fasted for
three days after which she risked her life by petitioning the king to save her
own people. Ultimately she succeeded in saving her people from the plot of
Haman (Esth 3:12-4:17; 9:1-5).
The driving force that moves one
to serve the Lord is the realization of God’s will and commission. Youths of
the True Jesus Church must understand the commission of the church to revive
the apostolic church and to preach the gospel of salvation to all parts of the
world (Amos 9:11; Col 1:25-28; Mt 24:14). Everyone should sacrifice and to live
for Christ (cf. 1 Cor 9:16-17; Rom 14:7-8).
Youths need to be equipped. Having
zeal alone will not qualify one for the ministry. One needs to undergo
spiritual training (cf. 2 Tim 2:21 ; Eccl 10:10).
Study the truth. Joshua learned
the laws of God from Moses (Josh 1:7-8; 11:15). Timothy received the truth from
Paul (2 Tim 3:14; 1:13; 2:9-10). One who does not know the truth is unworthy to
be a leader in the church (Mt 15:14; Hos 4:6).
Learning to work. Elisha followed
Elijah, the twelve apostles learned from Jesus and Timothy learned from Paul (1
Kgs 19:21; Mk 3:14-15; Acts 16:2-3).
God made full use of Moses and
Elisha because they had moulded themselves to be humble and pure vessels of God
(Num 12:3; 2 Kgs 4:9). To have God working with us
two things must not be lacking: humility and obedience. The Lord told His
disciples to learn from Him for He was gentle and lowly (Mt 11:29). Paul also
told Christians to be humble and to be submissive (Phil 2:1-8).
Learn to trust the Lord. We have
to rely on the Spirit of God to accomplish His task (Zech 4:6). David was able
to overcome Goliath and Paul endure sufferings because
they entrusted everything to God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and
do not rely on your own insight” (1 Sam 17:34-37, 45-49; Phil 4:1 1-13; Prov
3:5-6). The church should ensure that every youth has a role to play. It should
enlist youths into working committees. However, training must be given before
they are to perform their duties. Youths who are humble, faithful and
conscientious should be gradually entrusted with more important tasks so that
they may take up weightier responsibilities in future (Ex 18:13-27; Num 27:20).
Generally, youths have the
enthusiasm but because of their inexperience, they tend to get puffed up. They
also lack spiritual nurture and so they err in their speech, attitude, conduct,
and also in their work. Leaders of the church should treat them as babes.
Accept them and forgive them. Teach them with love and truthfulness so that
they may have a chance to correct themselves. Remember: to accommodate a person
is to gain a person. Barnabas received Saul when others dared not. Eventually
Barnabas gained Saul. Barnabas had compassion on Mark and accepted Mark when
Paul could not accommodate. Later he gained Mark. He had given these two a
chance. Later both Paul and Mark did mighty works of God (Acts 9:26-27; 11:25,26; 15:36-39).
Finally, pray for them. When
Joshua and the Israelites were fighting against the Amalekites, Moses went up
to a hilltop and prayed for them (Ex 17:8-13). When youths are given work to
do, leaders of the church should not stand aside to find occasion to criticize
or rebuke them for their errors. Instead, they should thank God for giving such
youths to the church. Furthermore, they should ask God to increase their
strength so that they may bring glory to the name of the Lord (1 Sam 12:23; 2