THE CHURCH AND YOUTHS
The Bible records
that Lord Jesus restored life to three persons. None of them was a fragile old
man or a newly born baby, but they were all young and vigorous people with great
capabilities ( cf: Jn 11:
32-44; Lk 7: 11-16; Mk 5: 35-42). This seems to indicate that the Lord treasures
the lives of youths considerably and their existence is of great importance. In
fact we can see that every family and every nation places its hopes upon the
youths. In the same way the church i.e. the household of God, or the nation of God,
should also love the youths, train them and make good use of them.
A. THE YOUTHS ARE ABLE TO PERFORM GREAT TASKS.
1. Examples in
witness borne by a young Israelite maid, God had brought the army commanders of
Syria to worship Him, the Lord of heaven and earth (2 Kings 5:1-19). With God's
help, David, a youth, killed Goliath, which King Saul and his army were
incapable of doing, thereby delivering the nation from the attack of the Philistines
(1 Sam 17: 1-11). With
the wisdom God gave him, young Solomon was able to establish the strongest
nation of that time (1 Kings 3: 6-14). The youth, Jeremiah, was appointed by
God to be a prophet as well as a messenger to the nations. (Jer
2. Facts in
Great established the strongest kingdom when he was only a youth. Mozart was
already a very famous composer when he was merely a youth. While Martin Luther
and Wesley were still studying in the University, they already had their ideas of
reforming the churches.
B. THE CHURCH NEEDS THE YOUTHS.
1. Youths are
Youths are like a
bridge standing in between the old and the young. The Bible says, "Train
up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from
it" (Prov 22: 6). Childhood is the period where one develops one's
habitude, hence it is essential for one to receive proper religious education
during this time (2 Tim 1: 5). The best person to train up these children are the
youths, hence the church needs youths. Good youths can give guidance to
children in the church. If there is no god-loving youth, it will be just like a
broken bridge and the children will be scattered and lost because there is no
bridge to cross.
2. Youths are
The works of the
church are not complete, and have to be continued until the Lord comes. Moses,
before his death, asked the Lord, "Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of
all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who shall go out before them
and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the
congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd" (Num
27: 17-20). Hence the leaders of the churches should be like Moses who, besides
being faithful towards his duties, was also concerned over the training of his successor.
So the leaders should delegate these works in steps to the youths and also
invest some authority to them (Num 27: 18-20). Hence works are not only given
to the youths when they are schooling, but more so when they have graduated,
they should be given the chance to serve the church (cf: Rom 12: 1-8; Prov 31:
15). It is hoped that after they have taken over the baton they can run faster
and farther so that the gospel of salvation can be proclaimed to the whole
C. THE YOUTHS NEED TO BE TRAINED.
their Religious Education.
Youths bear the
great responsibilities of the church, and if they are not trained with the correct
faith, proper conduct and ability to work, not only will they be unable to
perform the divine work, they may bring trouble instead. Therefore, we should strengthen
our work on religious education. In the children classes there should be an
Infant class, a Lower Primary and Upper Primary classes. Similarly, the youths'
service should have the various classes. More emphasis should be given to the
Lower Secondary classes. This is because youths around the age of sixteen will
experience great changes in them both physically and psychologically. If at
this stage they are not properly guided, then all the efforts that have been
spent on them would be in vain. On the contrary if their faith can be properly
secured when they are around sixteen years of age, then there will not be much changes in the rest of their lives. Take the example of
Joseph, he left the family at the age of seventeen and was alone in the sinful
Gentile land, yet he was able to stand firm and uphold the truth (Gen 37: 2; 39:
Youth Counseling Centre.
youths may have the love for the Lord and the fervency to serve Him, they may
lack experience. They may not be thorough in their thinking and very often they
tend to be too idealistic and become impractical. Furthermore, they are not
well equipped with the truth and their thoughts are not spiritual enough, so
they can easily make errors (cf: 2 Chr 1 0: 6-1 6). They may believe in the
authenticity of the Words, however, inevitably they will have doubts in the
Bible. How should one treat the opposite sex? How should one deal with one's own
marriage problem? How should one solve the many problems encountered in school
or society? ... All these problems cause distress, irresolution,
and may even cause them to lose heart and determination and be lost. In order to help them to solve their problems in life and establish
their faith, a 'Youth Counseling Center’ should be established to guide the
D. EXPECTATIONS FROM THE YOUTHS
1. Must be
determined to live for the Lord.
The Bible says,
"By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment
with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin" (Heb 11: 23-26). The reason that he did all these things was
because he understood the will and grace of the Lord for sparing his life (cf:
Acts 7: 18-22; Ex 1: 22; 2: 10). Paul always remembered the grace of the
Lord by saying, "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal2:
20). He also said, "Since the Lord has died for us, we should live for the
Lord" (2 Cor 5: 14-15). Hence it is hoped that
the youths in the Lord can understand the grace of the Lord and be determined
to live their whole life for the Lord (Rom 14: 7 -8), to study for the Lord, to
further study for the Lord, to earn money for the Lord, to marry for the Lord,
to bear children for the Lord, in other words to do everything for the Lord.
For those who receive special gifts from the Lord, they should follow the
examples of Moses and Paul. They gave up fame, pleasures and wealth and offer
their whole life for the divine works (Rom 12: 1 ).
2. To be a
vessel for noble use.
The Bible says,
"If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be
a vessel for noble use" (2 Tim 2: 21 ). In
society, a man is judged by his ability, but God places emphasis on the
holiness of man. Prophets Elijah, Elisha, and others were able to manifest the great
power of God because they were all holy men of God. They were pure in the way
they treated the opposite sex and money (2 Kings 4: 8-9; 5: 15-16; cf: 1 Kings
17: 18- 20). Hence it is hoped that the youths of the true church will pay
special attention to the correct attitude towards the opposite sex and money. It
is necessary for the youths to keep the body and heart pure and holy so as to
be acceptable for the Lord's use.
The Bible says,
"Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the men on the face
of the earth" (Num 12: 3). He was able to undertake the toughest task at
that time and endured till the end. This was because his meekness was greater
than that of any other man on earth. For those who are humble, the Lord will
surely be with them and will give grace to them (1 Pet 5: 5). Only a gentle person can solve all the problems
encountered by him with satisfactory solution ( cf:
Judges 8: 1-3). However, 'meekness' can be attained only after a person has
paid a 'great price' for example, it took Moses 40 years of training to remove
his pride and hot temper, and finally to change him into a humble and meek
person (Ex 2: 11-12). It is hoped that the youths of the true church will practice
the teachings of 'being obedient to the elders' and 'being gentle to others' so
as to be acceptable for the Lord's use ( cf: 1 Pet 5: 5; 2 Tim 2: 24-26).
The Bible says, "It
is required of the stewards that they be found
trustworthy" (1 Cor 4: 2). To be faithful is to serve the Lord from within
the heart; to strive with might and to work till the end; to seek only the will of the Lord and to follow the
Lord till the end, even unto death. These are also the requisites which the
Lord requires of His servants. Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses because he
was Moses' faithful helper (cf: Ex 33: 11 ). Hence it
is hoped that youths of the true church can be faithful over small things so as
to be entrusted with greater task by the Lord in the future. Also they must
pray constantly to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to complete the
commission of the true church, i.e. the world evangelism (cf: Lk. 16: 10-12).