Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Young People in the Church
"Of course, it is only natural for young people to default to spending time with other young people, but the church is not a “natural” agency. The church is a phenomenon that can only be explained by the operative grace of the Holy Spirit at work through the gospel of Christ. Part of the discipleship of young people is encouraging and equipping them to be willing participants in a diverse congregation.
A further benefit of this integrated approach to reaching and discipling young people is the way they then contribute to the actual shape and color of the community. Leaders take the presence of young people actively into account as they plan the life of the church. Young people matter, not because they are the “church of tomorrow,” but because they are an integral part of the church today. They too need to understand the word of God as it is taught. They need to hear the truth as it is in Christ applied to their hearts, their idols, their struggles, their joys.
Listen to what Martin Luther had to say on the subject of teaching God’s word to the gathered congregation:
When I preach I don’t look to the doctors and magistrates of whom there are about forty in this church. I have an eye to the many young people, children and servants of whom there are
more than two thousand. I preach to these, addressing myself to their needs. If other people don’t want to listen to this approach then they can always walk out! An upright, godly and true preacher should direct his preaching to the poor, simple sort of people . . . when preachers talk to me they can show off their learning—they will be well put to their trumps! But to sprinkle Hebrew, Greek and Latin in their public sermons, suggests they are merely showing off."
- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis, Total Church, p. 186, 187