Scripture: Psalm 78;
1 O my people, hear my teaching;
listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter hidden things, things from of old-
3 what we have heard and known,
what our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.
Observation: Our young people are in need of answers, they are in need of instruction, they look to us for guidance, and we just give them Pizza.
Application: I was at a training event not long ago for Youth Workers and, as I generally do at things like this, I was taking a few notes. There was a lot of good information given about how to relate to today’s youth and how we could be more effective in our ministering. But one thing that stood out to me more than anything else that was said that day came from Brad Fiscus when he said (paraphrased from my notes) “Youth look for the church to show them something. They need connections that run deeper than the ones they have online, and what do we do? We offer them pizzas, games, and easy answers.”
My wife Mary was unable to attend the meeting that day but when I got home I shared that thought with her and it struck home with her even more than it had with myself. She had been very active with the youth of our congregation, but since then, there is a renewed fire in her that I truly admire and appreciate. She has adopted and implemented a new curriculum for the Sunday School and Children’s Church classes and it’s been a big success. The new curriculum they are using is called Live B.I.G. and it has been wonderful. But it’s not all about the curriculum, its about the enthusiasm and efforts of the teachers.
We are not all called to be Sunday School leaders, but we MUST do more than feed the kids pizza, let them play games, and give them easy answers. We have to feed them with the word of God in a way that they will be receptive to it. Mary has started challenging the youth to find answers on their own in the scripture and offers them little prizes when they complete the challenges. The prizes are very small and inexpensive but the response from the children is amazing.
Here they are yesterday morning sitting on the front porch of the Church before service doing their Sunday School homework challenge and loving it! This just goes to show that if we really want to make an impact in The Kingdom of God, we have to teach the children from the Word. We have to teach them what God is really about. We can not see them as a group that we need to push off into the corner and pacify until service time, or until the adults are ready to go. We must make our youth a primary focus and ministry of the church, if we fail to do so, we are not accomplishing the full ministry the Lord has called us to do.
Prayer: Heavenly Father,
Help me to be more responsive to the calling of ministry to youth. Help me to be an example to them and show them the way to your Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let me renew my passion for teaching them, and let me not fall into the bad habit of saying what I need to say in order to pacify a difficult question. Thank you Lord for the young people you have placed in my life and in our congregation. Help us all to embrace our ministry to them and show them your love.
Yield: I surrender the things I’ve used to pacify the hard answers from youth, and ask for strength and ability to really minister to them and teach them your ways O Lord.