Investing in today’s youth is necessary in growing the body of Christ. Teaching young people in the church to grow in their relationship with the Lord prepares them to serve Christ in all they do. As a result, this nurtures the congregation and allows the church to flourish.
Serving young people cannot only prepare them to become future leaders, but also allow them to contribute to the church. This is seen many times in the Bible, as God often used young people to do great things. For example, God used Timothy to pastor and lead the Ephesian church when he was a teenager. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Who is a youth in the church? Traditionally, youth is considered to be a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Most of the time, people use the word ‘teenagers’ when referring to the youth, even though there are no defined age boundaries. Anyone can be a youth if they want to.
Youths in the church can be and do anything they desire. For instance, some young people choose to attend a youth ministry to learn, communicate, and grow in a safe and faithful environment.
Others are actually in charge of youth ministries and other similar religious organisations for young people, where they can give back to the youth in their communities.
The role of youth in the church today
As mentioned before, youths can take on any role they like in the church. Below are some of the roles of youth in the church.
- First and foremost, they can be the consumers. Young minds are perfect vessels for information. There is no better time to teach them about God, religion and spirituality other than in their younger years. If they are encouraged enough to participate in the church’s life when they are young, they will continue to do that in their adulthood.
- The youth in the church also plays an essential role in bringing a fresh perspective on things. Some older people might be too stuck on outdated ideals. The purpose of the youth is to provide their perspective on the situation/topic, which will benefit everyone.
- Young people often have more energy than adults, making them the perfect choice for various organisational jobs. Moreover, many teenagers are great at organising and holding various celebrations and events, as they usually have lots of amazing ideas.
Apart from being in control of things like planning, youths should also act as a helping hand. This could mean many things:
- Young people can take on the cleaning duties.
- They can help the oldest members of the church.
- They can also help other youngsters in their search for God and spirituality.
Most importantly, the youth is the future of any church. They are the ones who decide whether to continue preaching what their predecessors have preached or to introduce something new and fresh.
If the youth is not interested in going to church, then the whole institute of religion might fall apart. Therefore, it is important to encourage the youth to get involved with the church.
Role of the church for the Christian youth
Apart from considering the things the youths could do for the church, we should also think about what the church could do for the youths.
- The most important thing any church can do for youth is providing guidance and knowledge. While many young people are blessed with wonderful parents/guardians/teachers, some do not have that luxury. To save them from themselves or from the situations they might be in, the church has to show them the righteous path that involves faith in Our Lord.
- The church can be a great way for many young people to find some meaning in their lives. With help from other church members (pastors, priests, other believers), the youth can find a place for God in their hearts and lives. In addition, they can learn from other people’s experiences, share their own and hear feedback from others.
- Churches should offer educational programmes for young people to teach them how to be good, faithful people in the future. These programs should also provide information that children cannot find at school or home.
- Church’s role in youth development should not end with just providing important knowledge and guidance. It should also provide the youth with all forms of support. The support can come from anyone within the church and take on any form. It can be spiritual, financial, moral, social, or any other form of help that the youth might need. As young people are quite a vulnerable transitional group, they should have all the support they can get in their complicated journey towards adulthood.
The church can also introduce youth ministry, which can help teach the young people various things about Christ and life in general. What is the purpose of youth ministry? Below are some reasons why youth ministry is vital. It:
- helps the church focus on Jesus, which goes beyond tradition, dogma, and ritual;
- resists the status quo, helping a church stay relevant in a changing culture;
- reminds the church that teens are not marginalised members of the body but are co-creators and conspirators in the divine work of the church, restoring life on earth as it is in heaven;
- helps the teens to integrate into the larger intergenerational community of the church;
- focuses on inviting those not already part of the church into God’s plan for humankind into the deeper narrative.
How to make a difference as a Christian youth
If you want to change as a youth, you always need to lead by example and involve yourself with your community and your people. There are many ways you can give back and make a difference as a Christian youth.
- Be a good example for other youths. This includes being a leader who participates in both church and community activities, not involving yourself in habits like drinking, smoking, gossips and cheating.
- Be patient and kind to everyone irrespective of their age.
- Love others and be willing to help them at no cost.
- Be respectful when engaging with other non-Christian members.
- Reach out to people who feel like the community neglects them. Help them by encouraging them, praying for them and spending the most of their time with them. This will make them feel loved and appreciated.
- Be able to take rejection or loss with grace. When confronted about your belief, always stand firm on what you believe in.
- Keep studying your faith through group discussions with your fellow youths.
- Always read the bible to learn more about Christian life. Then, ask questions from older religious teachers such as pastors and priests.
- Pray as often as you can and go to church. It is through prayers that God answers our needs. In addition, praying is a close way of building your relationship with Christ as a Christian.
- Always give back to others. Be willing to assist those in need and giving out what you do not need or use. You can also help by joining or helping a cause that revolves around helping people know about God and his Word.
Why is youth group important?
Here are some benefits youth groups provide teens and their communities with:
- Being in a Christian group can give a person direction, help to choose what is right and provide friends who will support them.
- It can provide encouragement to look for solutions to common community issues.
- In a youth group, a person has others with whom they can pray and share their concerns.
- It can help teens to develop critical thinking and other personal and interpersonal skills.
- Youth group helps young people interact with each other freely sharing ideas about life, and God.
- It offers a safe space for teens to express themselves without being judged.
The church should serve as a light at the end of the tunnel, an answer to the many questions that fill young minds. It should be a home and the main destination for those lost, confused, scared or hurt.