Religion is an essential component of many people's lives, and churches are important gathering places for people of all ages. Although the youth are an important part of Christ's body, they are often left out of conversation and programs in most churches. Find out the role of youth in the church and how important the church is to them.
Youth is a transition stage from childhood to adulthood. The United Nations defines 'youth' as persons aged 15 to 24, but this is not universal. The experience of being young varies substantially worldwide, between countries and cultures. For instance, some countries consider the youth as people aged 18 to 34.
Since the youth are the backbone and future of society, churches use the youth ministry to mentor young people into adults who are valuable to society and the Christian community.
As the church instills positive values in the youth, helps them grow in their relationship with the Lord, and prepares them to serve Christ and society, it also greatly benefits from their contributions to the Christian community.
This article unveils the youth ministry roles and responsibilities in the church, addresses the challenges these young people face in the Christian community, and suggests some possible solutions.
The role of youth in the church today
As mentioned, the church nurtures young people to become future leaders and people of value to society. In return, it benefits from their contributions to the church and the Christian community. Below are some roles the youth play in the church:
1. Bring new members to church through evangelism
Christian youth increase the number of people in the church by evangelizing to fellow youth at school, home, workplace, etc. Most churches also host youth seminars and conferences for evangelical purposes. On top of this, most church choir members are the youth, including those who play instruments. These young people use their singing talents to draw more youth to church.
When Christian youth marry in their adult years, they can influence their spouses, children, and, to some extent, the in-laws, to join the church. As a result, the population of church and Christian communities increases because of the youth.
2. They bring fresh and progressive ideas to the church
The youth have modern progressive concepts that develop the church and the Christian community. They can use social media/content evangelism (Christian influencers and content creators), email evangelism (e.g., newsletters), mobile evangelism (e.g., Bible text messages), print media evangelism (billboards, brochures, flyers, newsletters, posters, etc.), and other strategies to spread the word of God in society.
3. They are caregivers to the needy members in society and the church
There is so much the youth ministry can do to help the underprivileged and needy members in society and the church. They can monetize their social media/content evangelism, mobile evangelism, print media evangelism, and email evangelism concepts to raise money for charity projects and programs.
The youth also provide the church labor during these charity projects and programs. For instance, they cook during a community feeding event, distribute donations to the beneficiaries of the church charity programs, etc.
4. They are the caretakers of the church's assets and properties
The youth are the custodians and caretakers of assets in the church and other property belonging to the church. In most churches, the youth clean inside the church building, take care of the compound, arrange the seats during church services, connect the sound system, and so on.
5. They are the voice of the church and the Christian community
The lifestyle of a devoted Christian youth speaks a lot about the church in society. The world has many successful Christian youths whose lives alone inspire the world to join the religion. As a result, many non-believers have been convinced to convert to Christianity after observing the lifestyles of youths dedicated to their faith.
Characteristics of youth in the church
You must shape your character into a Christian youth who adds value to the church and community. Below are some things a young person can do to improve their character and make a difference as a Christian youth:
- Study the word of God and keep His commandments.
- Pray, attend church sermons/services, and listen to wise advice from adults.
- Evangelize the Gospel without fear and contradiction.
- Stand firm and defend your Christian faith when confronted, but not with violence.
- Be a good example for other youths. Your lifestyle and words should inspire others to quit self-destructive habits like alcoholism, smoking, fornication, greed for money, etc.
- Love, be patient, and help people regardless of race, religion, gender, nationality, age, etc.
- Give back to society without expecting their payment for your acts of service.
- Take rejection or loss for being a Christian with grace.
- Develop your talents, have a vision for your education, work hard in your career, etc. Your success is an inspiration to fellow youth, including non-Christians.
- Keep the company of Christian youth with the same vision in life as yours.
- Surround yourself with youth and adults who can mentor you.
- Mentor fellow youth who need your help.
What are the benefits of joining a church youth ministry?
As a Christian youth, you should surround yourself with like-minded people who can help you grow spiritually and succeed in other aspects of life. Joining and actively participating in the youth ministry in your church can help you meet such friends. Here are some 5 purposes of youth ministry:
- A church youth group gives you a sense of direction by teaching you the word of God and how to differentiate right and wrong decisions.
- A Christian group helps one to develop social skills like teamwork, effective communication, conflict resolution, relationship management, etc.
- Your Christian friends provide you with emotional support and a safe space to express yourself without being judged when facing challenges.
- Supportive friends from a church youth group hold you accountable when you are too sluggish or have challenges that hinder you from pursuing the goals you set for your talent, career, finances, education, etc.
- A church youth group helps you create beautiful memories without engaging in self-destructive activities like alcoholism.
Challenges facing the youth in the church and solutions
For the church leadership to reach and shape their youth into great future leaders, they must address challenges young people face that hinder them from pursuing their calling and other goals in life. Here are some of these challenges and solutions the church can use:
1. Discrimination based on gender, race, cultural background, colorism, and so on
The youth in the church today face discrimination in different forms, which hinders them from interacting with one another within and outside the church setting. Church leaders should preach unity, create programs to make the youth interact without bias, and discourage adults from instilling discrimination ideas in young people.
2. Mental health and depression
Mental health and depression in young people result from social issues like discrimination, family issues like divorce, abusive parents, poverty, self-instilled pressure to succeed in education, addiction to narcotics and alcohol, loneliness, etc.
Church leaders and parents/guardians should create group and individual therapy sessions to help young people overcome issues that depress them and affect their mental health. They can also offer financial and other forms of support to shoulder the burdens these young people face.
3. Gender identity crisis
Many young people today are battling with a gender identity crisis. The church should create a safe space for these young people to share their thoughts and emotions without being judged. After that, the church leaders and parents should guide them through a Godly self-discovery process.
4. Additions to harmful substances
Youths are addicted to alcohol, adult content movies, narcotics, and many other things ruining their lives. The church should cooperate with medical professionals, therapists, life coaches, rehabilitation centers, etc., to help these young people overcome addictions and rebuild their lives.
5. Fornication and immorality
Young people with promising futures are falling apart because of fornication and other sexual immoralities. As a result, many who have become parents are not financially capable of caring for their children. Some have dropped out of school, and others have been infected with HIV/AIDS and STIs.
The church should teach them about Christian dating and the dangers of fornication and sexual immoralities. Also, it should encourage parents whose children have made these mistakes to forgive, embrace, guide, and help them rebuild their lives.
What is the responsibility of youth according to the Bible?
The Bible outlines the responsibilities of the youth in multiple verses. Here are some scriptures that guide young people on what God expects from them:
1. The youth should spread the Gospel
The Bible encourages young people to evangelize to the word of God. No one is too young to teach others about God's word and commandments.
- Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ ‘Ah, Sovereign LORD,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘Now, I have put my words in your mouth.’ - Jeremiah 1:4-9
2. They should be good examples to fellow youth and Christians
The Bible commissions the youth to be the light and salt of the world. Their lifestyles should make them stand out in this sinful world so those consumed in sin can emulate them.
- 'Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.' - 1 Timothy 4:12
- How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. - Psalm 119:9
3. They should set godly goals in life
The Bible encourages them to follow their dreams and enjoy their youth but cautions them from activities that bring them more harm than good. There are consequences for every action.
- Be happy while you are still young. Do what you want to do, and follow your heart’s desire. But remember that God is going to judge you for whatever you do. Don’t let anything worry you or cause you pain. You aren’t going to be young very long. - Ecclesiastes 11:9-10
4. Obey their parents and listen to their wise pieces of advice
The world of God advises the youth to listen to advice from adults who mean well. They should seek mentors to help them grow spiritually and in other aspects of life.
- Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. - Proverbs 1:8-9
- ‘You shall rise up before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the Lord.' - Leviticus 19:32
5. They should choose their spouses wisely
As for Christian youth of the right age to marry, the Bible advises them to marry believers. They should pray to God for a spouse who is trustworthy, helpful, hard-working, compassionate, wise, and trusts Jesus.
- Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? - 2 Corinthians 6:14
What is the role of Christian youth in the society?
There are many roles a Christian youth or teenager can play in society and the church. Below are five of them:
- Bring new members to church through evangelism so that the Christian community grows.
- Bring fresh and progressive ideas to the church.
- Be a caregiver to the needy members in society and the church.
- Take care of the church's assets and properties.
- Be the voice of the church and the Christian community through your lifestyle.
What does the church say about youth?
The church follows what the Bible says about the youth. No one should look down upon them because they are age ('Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.' - 1 Timothy 4:12) and they need the guidance of wise adults (Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. - Proverbs 1:8-9).
What are the characteristics of a youth-friendly church?
An appropriate church for youths or teenagers encourages prayer, worship, reading the Bible, and holiness, has strong leadership, is family-friendly, multicultural, encourages community collaboration, and is flexible and adaptable to programs that help young people interact.
The role of youth in the church is to help it grow. Since Christian young people are the light of the world, their lifestyles, spiritual maturity, and success in other aspects of life attract fellow youth to the church. Adults and church leaders should support the youth ministry, including providing them with finances to run programs that will help young people interact, spread the Gospel, and grow the church.
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