THE FUTURE IS NOW
When it comes to ministry at First Baptist Church, my two favorite weeks of the year aren’t found in December or spring but at the very beginning of the summer break when our Youth Choir takes its annual mission trip immediately followed by Vacation Bible School (VBS). After spending last week on the road with 55 of our youth and this week with nearly 300 children during VBS (including dozens of youth workers), I may be tired, but I’m energized by how the Lord continues to move within the lives of these young ones and use them for His glory.
I’ve seen firsthand how our youth have worked hard, endured difficulties, sung with passion, and loved everyone God placed before them. I’ve heard their testimonies — both public and private — of how they’re trusting God and seeking to faithfully follow Jesus. I’ve watched our children learn the truth that Jesus can rescue them from loneliness, struggle, and sin (By the way, THANK YOU to everyone who made these life-changing weeks of ministry possible by serving and giving).
With everything I’ve experienced, I’ve been reminded how we sometimes misspeak and say that these younger brothers and sisters are the future of the church. I disagree. They are the church. Right now! Every child or youth who has put their faith in Jesus is just as much a part of the body of Christ as any adult believer. And sometimes we need to be reminded of that rather than speaking as if one day their day will come.
According to Scripture, age is not a disqualifier from serving Jesus or His church. Jesus held up childlike humility as a model for us to follow (Matthew 18:1–4), and Paul wrote to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Timothy was clearly not a child and probably not a youth the way we define that age range (i.e., a teenager), but he was considered young. Nevertheless, both Jesus and Paul point to those who are younger as examples for the rest of the church to follow.
So as we celebrate all that God has done during the Youth Choir mission trip and VBS, let us also look to these young people as fellow heirs of Christ and be challenged by their boldness for the gospel, faith in Jesus, and love for others.