Youth: Important to the Church Family?
Are youth an important part of the church family?
I doubt anyone would say no, especially given our theology. At RMPC, we believe the Bible teaches that God relates to his people through covenants (see Gen 17:7; Deut 6:1-2; Acts 2:39), and God includes even their children in the community formed by his promises. They are members of God’s family and heirs of God’s promises. As a result, God commands us to pass on our faith to the next generation (Deut 6:6-7); when we don’t, the effects are disastrous (see Judg 2:10-12).
Biblically speaking, then, youth are absolutely vital to the church. But here’s a question to get us thinking: if they are so important, do we treat them as such? What is our attitude towards them?
I think there can be some hesitancy to interact with youth, probably because they often have a poor reputation. To a degree, that reputation can be true. At times, youth can be loud, immature, and irritating…but then again, so can some adults! Youth are in a period of life when they are trying to make sense of life. They’re testing boundaries, figuring out how to relate to other people, and asking the “big questions.”
That’s why youth need the whole church family. King Solomon framed the whole book of Proverbs as words of wisdom from parents to a son who is approaching maturity (Prov 1:7-8). That’s the same kind of attitude—one of instruction and mentoring—that the church family should have towards our youth.
But practically speaking, what does that look like? Here are some suggestions:
Greet the youth on Sunday morning. Get to know their names. Pray for them on a regular basis (and let them know you’re praying for them!). Consider bringing a meal for them on Wednesday evening to Youth & Family Night and spend some time getting to know them. Think about being a regular inter-generational partner/mentor at Youth & Family Night. These are all ways we live out our conviction that our youth are important to the church family.