Enjoying the Journey

Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

How To Keep the Next Generation

A fellow preacher and personal friend asked me recently how I believed we could do a better job of retaining young people in our churches. It is a problem of epidemic proportions. The vast majority of young people are exiting the local church by the time they are eighteen. For many years I said to prospective youth workers that we must get young people connected to more than the youth group. It is my conviction that, as early in life as possible, young people must find their place in the church. It must be their church. The pastor must be their pastor. And some work for the Lord must be their ministry. This cannot begin when they graduate from high…

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A Post By My 17 Year Old Daughter

Tammy and I thank the Lord for our children. Like every parent we pray that they will desire to follow Christ. More and more I understand the words of John, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). Recently our oldest daughter Morgan posted some thoughts through social media on the subject of teen suicide. The Lord used them to speak to some young people and I asked her for permission to share her thoughts here. It is our prayer that they will encourage others. The following are Morgan’s own words… As I look on my generation I see a group of teenagers filled with questions, filled with pain, and filled…

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Go East Young Man!

Our culture is obsessed with the ability, beauty, and virility of youth. Somehow in all of this obsession we have forgotten the wisdom of age. Young people miss the examples of parents and grandparents. Young couples fail to draw from the experience of more mature married couples. Young ministers often reject the insight of seasoned pastors. The mantra is the same, “They are from another generation…they wouldn’t understand.” This is a lie of the devil. Listen to the words of Scripture… “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee” (Deuteronomy 32:7). “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding”…

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10 Suggestions for Those Who Work With Youth

Thank God for faithful youth workers. As a parent of two teenagers I realize more than ever that no one raises their children alone. My wife and I praise God for every youth pastor, youth pastor’s wife, teacher, coach, administrator, and choir leader who influence our children…and we pray for them. We need them. Our kids need them. The role of youth leaders is more indispensable than ever. They cannot take the place of parents or the pastor, but they can extend the influence of both. Youth workers are key in strengthening two God ordained institutions – the home and the local church. Much of our ministry has been with young people and helping to train those who work with…

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What I Learned from a Child About Singing Hymns

You can learn a lot from a child.  Sometimes those we are teaching become our teachers.  This happened to me again recently.  As I walked through a certain place I heard the voice of a young man singing a great hymn.  Not just singing it…singing every word…with abandon! Suddenly so many things were clear.  This young boy has parents who love the Lord.  He is being raised in a church where the great hymns of the faith are being sung.  Now he loves them too. Young people love old hymns.  Many churches today have followed the assumption that kids only want “new music.”  In fact, they want something that is real.  They want truth.  It doesn’t have to be new…

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Happy Homes

One of the most wonderful gifts that my parents gave to me growing up was a happy home.  Yes, they had rules.  No, we did not get to do whatever we wanted to do.  But there was never the sense that we were “missing out.”  After all of these years it is the joy of the Lord that I witnessed in my parent’s lives that has stayed with me. Many years ago Pastor Sexton preached a message titled “Living on the Sunny Side of Life.”  One statement that he made seems especially appropriate today: “Don’t just live on the right side – live on the bright side.”  Christ has designed it so that we can have both! One of the…

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Counsel to Young People and to Those Who Counsel Them

It is my privilege to work each week with hundreds of middle school, high school, and college age young people.  It is fascinating that the older I get the younger they seem!  Not long ago (in my mind) I sat where they sit.  Making decisions and seeking direction. Recently I spent several days just meeting with kids, listening, talking, praying.  Full of hope for their future, every one of them is in the middle of a season of decision.  Decisions that will alter the course of their life.  Perhaps I am more concerned than they are because I have seen so many poor choices and sad casualties. Meeting after meeting it seemed that the conversation returned again and again to…

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When Young People Ask Hard Questions

Questions are opportunities to teach.  God gave explicit instructions to Israel about what to say when your children ask (Deuteronomy 6:20-25).  And ask they will!  All of us who have young people in our homes are well acquainted with the question, “Why?”  It is the way we answer that determines the outcome. Recently I allowed the young people in our Academy to submit anonymously questions that have troubled them.  I was overwhelmed by the response.  Sincere questions and concerns.  Some doctrinal, some personal – family, eternity, morality, God, the Bible, and relationships.  We have since tried to schedule chapel speakers who could address specific topics that are on their minds. Questions cannot be ignored.  In fact, they should be encouraged.…

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A Message Christian Young People Desperately Need

It is my privilege to speak to young people on a regular basis.  I have to admit that they are my favorite group to preach to!  You always know where you stand with teenagers.  My heart is always stirred as I look into their faces and consider the potential in every one of their young lives. More and more as I look into the eyes of Christian young people I see a sense of apathy.  Resignation.  Defeat. Could it be that the enemy has successfully convinced an entire generation that their world is too far gone?  Their lives too insignificant to impact 7 billion people?  The condition too bad for them to make a difference? The devil is a liar.…

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A Daily Habit Everyone Should Form

All of my books have my name in them.  They are like members of the family (just ask my wife!).  In part, I put my name in the flyleaf of my books because I enjoy sharing them with others, but I always want to get them back.  To share a good book is to invest in the life of another.  When I am with friends one of my first questions is: “What have you read recently that is good?” There is no book like the Bible.  It is God’s Book and unparalleled by anything man has to write.  Yet those who study the Bible will tell you that one of the best things you can do for your mind and…

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