5 Reasons To Raise Up The Next Generation
I was thrust into leading a student ministry at 18. A worship ministry at 20. I was trying to lead volunteers who had kids my age. I was trying to teach students only three years younger than me. I never felt so young.
A few short years later and I'm 31. Students I taught in youth ministry are married now. They have kids of their own. I've never felt so old. It happens quick.
If you're in a church that overemphasizes young people you can find yourself on the wrong side of that equation real fast. But If you're in a church that neglects young people your church may not exist much longer.
As a young man, I enjoyed a lot of years on the receiving end of discipleship. But now I need to remind myself that it's my turn to raise up the next generation. Perhaps you need to be reminded too.
So let's remember, We Need To Raise Up The Next Generation Because:
1. Responsibility Promotes Buy-In
I have a bad habit. I leave lights on throughout the house. I don't know why but I always have. After telling me for the hundredth time to turn the lights off my Dad used to say "just wait until you're paying the electric bill."
When we don't have any responsibility we don't have buy-in. We don't have any real reason to commit. To make it personal. Children and students may be sitting in Sunday Schools for now. But when it's up to them, they're gone.
Showing a young person that they have value, that they belong, is huge. Giving them responsibility, however small, demonstrates their value. And it's a major step toward a lifelong commitment to a local church family.
2. Someday Someone Else Will Lead Your Church
I know it's hard to imagine. And many churches choose not to think about it. But if we want our churches to outlive their current leadership, others will eventually have to take the reigns. Where do these people come from?
When I was 13 I was lost and alone. It was my first year of public school after growing up homeschooled and I felt like I didn't fit anywhere. A handful of youth leaders took me in and allowed me to participate in the youth band.
When I was 16 I was trying to find my way. I had one group of "church" friends and another group of drinking, partying friends. Honestly, I could have gone either way. By God's grace, and a Pastor taking a chance on me, I stayed connected to the church.
When I was 18 I still wasn't sure what I'd do with my life. I started a job with a wedding photographer when another Pastor called me and offered me a job. If he hadn't reached out I might be shooting photos right now instead of writing this article.
Each time a church leader went out of their way to patiently pour into me they laid one more brick on my path to becoming a pastor.
3. It Helps Us Hold Ministry With Open Hands
Our positions are not our own. Our leadership has seasons. It takes different shapes and forms as the years go by.
Setting your heart toward the next generation forces us to hold our ministry with open hands. It's a step of faith. We're demonstrating that God's will and plan is sovereign over our lives.
4. God Called The Young
Throughout the Bible, we see God repeatedly calling men and woman into positions of leadership. Some were very old, some were middle-aged, and some were young.
He called young David while he was sitting in a lowly field.
He called young Marry from uneventful Nazareth.
He called young Samuel in days when the Word of the Lord was rare.
Many of Jesus's disciples were young, uneducated, and unlikely candidates to become world-changing leaders.
God called all kinds of people. Including young people. We should too.
5. It Adopts God's Design For Ministry
One generation shall commend your works to another - Psalm 145:4
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams - Acts 2:17
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. - 1 Timothy 5:1-2
Scriptures like these reveal something. God desires men and woman, young and old, to all be in community together. Mutually supporting one another. What a beautiful picture of unity!
When we raise up young people we are actively participating in, and obeying God's design.
If you're an "older" church leader. Take a moment to think and pray over one young person you can begin raising up today.
If you're a younger church leader don't be afraid to step up. You're not too young for responsibility. Be bold and seek opportunities to contribute to your church family.