I often hear the phrase spoken in the Churches that “the youth are our future.” Every time I hear that, I think, yes, but they are also a part of our Church now. A vital part. I have found that when we allow youth and children to have an active role in our activities at Church, they learn from our example and listen to what is being taught.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 78:5-7,
“For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments.”
While reading this wisdom from scripture one morning, the thought occurred to me, what if we don’t? What if we don’t teach the next generation about the ways and works of God? What if we get so busy or just simply neglect the instruction?
Something else that may be just as dangerous; often our Church’ leadership works hard to find fun activities for our youth to create an environment that they will want to come to Church. This is well meaning but, it does send a message that Church can be fun. This is often what happens. Then as the child/ youth grows and faces difficult life situations, the message that they have learned from attending Church is that Church is fun, not that Church can help me through life difficulties.
I have the privilege of teaching Bible study to children and youth quite often. I normally ask about their churches, families, and schools. I ask if there is something that they would like us to pray for. What I often hear is that children face very difficult hardships in their lives. They desperately need to learn God’s ways. If we fail to teach them, they think that Church is fun, but it does not have the answers that I need. They will look elsewhere. When we see the falling away from God’s teachings in our culture today, we see what happens when we don’t follow the instruction and “teach them.”