Announcing A Youth Explosion

Our culture is changing rapidly, and it’s easy for the church to fall behind. We cling to what is familiar. We enjoy the memories of blessings God has bestowed on us in our past. The future sometimes looks scary. Especially, since the church, as a whole, seems to be on a downward spiral. It seems we are doing circles in the desert, lost in the wilderness like Moses on the way to the Promised Land! We long for the days and things of old. We long for the former things. Why? Because it is safe. We know what to expect in the former. But God’s word says, Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. God is doing a new thing at First Christian Church! His new thing is a Youth Explosion! The word explosion triggers images of chaos, and destruction in the form of noise, debris, and in this case crumbs, glue, glitter, masking tape, drawings on everything not nailed down and every conceivable stain or spill you can possibly imagine. But let me offer 5 positive points that also come with this youth explosion. #1 Intrinsic Value: Children and youth are valuable as they are made in the image of God and are a visible sign of the extended mercy of God. #2 Gift of Passion: The raw, idealistic passion of adolescents is a gift to the body of Christ. It pushes adults beyond comfort and cynicism. #3 Agents of Ministry: Youth are not merely objects of ministry. They are rightful agents of ministry today, as part of the larger, intergenerational family of God. #4 Relational Impetus: Teenagers remind the broader church that relationships, rather than structures, are the conduit for gospel movement. #5 Learning Laboratory: Ministry to youth keeps the church aware of the changes in culture and the local context. Ministry among youth can give the church a “first look” at coming changes. Youth ministry provides us an opportunity to experiment with how to bring the unchanging Word to an ever-changing culture, giving us a snapshot of racial, social-economic, familial, and value diversity in our community. Ministry to, and among youth in our community helps the church connect to and stay abreast of the changing context of our community. Yes, the explosion of noise and controlled chaos is worth the uncomforting the church feels with a youth explosion. To expand further the youth explosion teaches us to remember how we first loved Christ; with a sense of wonder, excitement, and an unconditional expectation of possibility! Children believe that nothing is impossible! They expect wonder and miracles. Each time they come into the church they are expecting to learn something new, experience something miraculous, and feel something empowering. Jesus knew this, that’s why he wrote: Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. In our haste to maintain “control” and “order” let us not forget none are in control but Jesus. And If he commands us to forbid not the children to come to him, who are we to change the rules of his house? Growth is hard, it is painful. But in the end, it is necessary to move closer to God. We are in the new beginnings of a youth explosion! God has seen your faithfulness and has chosen our church to facilitate Growth! Do we continue to be faithful and embrace the changes and growing pains? Or do we stifle it because we are so accustomed to the way “We” do things that we chase our blessing out of the church? Do we long for the former ways and consider the things of old? Or do we cling to and believe God’s word and expect a new thing!

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)