Enjoying the Journey
For the last twenty years I have had the joy to be involved in youth ministry in some way. It is the passion of my life to point another generation to the Lord Jesus and His truth. I am more convinced than I have ever been that this is a critical ministry of the local church. It is not just the work of youth pastors and “professionals.” It is the mission of every older man and older woman who desires to impart God’s truth to the next generation (Titus 2).
Youth ministry is not “ministry light.” There is nothing light about it. This is serious business. It is work and warfare.
- Youth ministry is at the front lines of Satanic attack.
We all know we are in a spiritual conflict – a battle of eternal proportions. The war is waging all around us. Where are “the front lines”? Identify the greatest casualties and you will discover the hottest part of the battle.
Satan has turned his most aggressive weapons on children and teenagers. He knows their potential and hates the God who created them. Sadly, one of Satan’s greatest tools are unwise believers like King Saul who react to young David’s with a discouraging, “Thou art but a youth.” I’m glad God never said that.
The enemy is advancing. We should be. Reinforcements are desperately needed on the front lines.
- Youth ministry is at the foundation of civilization.
The basic unit of civilization (and the church) is the family. As the home goes, so goes the nation. Biblical youth ministry is a family ministry. To “turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). Young people must be reached and taught if they are to be the children God designed them to be now and the parents God desires them to be later. Capture a young mind and heart for Christ and the rest of that life can be lived for God’s glory.
It is easy to complain about the condition of a younger generation. To fuss at the darkness. What will we do about it?
- Youth ministry is at the heart of the church.
The local church is tasked with passing on truth to the next generation (2 Timothy 2:2). To neglect young people is to reject God’s plan. Our work is not “youth ministry”; it is “local church youth ministry.” We are not to simply attach teenagers to a youth program. We are to attach them to the greatest thing in the world: the local New Testament Church! Students will outgrow the teen department, but they will never outgrow the local church.
Young people will become the pastors, deacons, teachers, and leaders in local churches. They will guide our children and grandchildren! In the words of Catherine Booth, “To change the future, we must disturb the present.”
This is the day for churches to see their responsibility and seize the opportunity that is before them. There are more young people on earth than ever before and they all need our Christ. We must do more than believe in local church youth ministry…we must be involved in it.