Billy Graham gave his life to Christ at seventeen. Lottie Moon? Eighteen.
How many teenagers are we expecting, encouraging, or equipping as though they will change the entire world? How many are we speaking faith and favor over, reminding them that God has BIG plans for their lives?
For some of you that answer is “several!” You are serving in youth or children’s ministry and every kiddo that crosses your path is seen for the hope and promise they represent. Well done, you!
For many, you simply are not around any kids. Friends, that’s a problem. If you are in the Body of Christ and do not have both older and younger around you, you have missed the beauty and blessing that is belong to Jesus. Where is your Timothy? To whom are you a Titus?
Maybe you thought your serving season ended upon the graduation of your own. Friend, don’t you know? We are made disciples through making disciples. Children and youth are the “least of these” in our modern church midst. They are the beggars at the gate, crying out to be seen and heard… “Have mercy on me, friend of Jesus!” But we throw crumbs of food and fun, offering experience rich calendars while making no time for anything that would take more time. Passing by future mothers and fathers, leaders and teachers, Billys and Lotties. How many did the Lord intend to save through the serving of the one?
Serve and honor those who’ve gone ahead. Equip and encourage those around. Lead, protect, and train those that follow you.
That kid that is drifting because they need a small group leader? That child that no one called or missed on a Sunday… they have the potential to do great and mighty things or great and terrible things. Agents of change or agents of chaos, ambassadors of Peace or pieces, people. Often times those very things are determined by the one person who showed they cared.
What if we lived and served the next generation like they actually were the next generation… of pastors, ministers, missionaries…even martyrs? Like a Billy or a Lottie was among them. What if we did so because we were commanded to whether they had ecumenical potential or not?
They will go as far as we prepare them to. They will be as bold as they have been equipped. They will be as merciful as they are valued, loved as they have been loved. And the converse is also true and exponentially more burdensome. The next generation will treat others as they have been treated, defend others as they have been defended. Which for many, many, young people is poorly and not at all. Think of all we have subjected them to out of convenience or complacency. My God, what will they allow for their own children?
Empty your classes, Church. Empty every adult Sunday school class until every single child that we had the opportunity to reach, was reached.
Until we are faithful here, we will not be fruitful anywhere else.