In answer to this question, we hear a large chorus in the church urging that the church become a combination YMCA/YWCA to cater to recreational desires. Some in the kingdom say we need a "youth minister" and often this turns into a "ministry" of cookouts, pizza parties, trips to six flags, canoeing on our rivers, and bowling tournaments. Really now, is this what our young people need as we think of their eternal souls? Yes, there are some parents who have long since turned from their responsibilities, and now they wish the church to step in and take over. This is one of the true, but very sad facts of our time. But, what do our young people need? We suggest these things:
They need godly homes / parents. Ephesians 6:4 lays it upon fathers to see that, in the home environment, children are brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Under Moses' law, the word, concerning the laws of God was, "thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (Deuteronomy 6:7). The greatest push toward heaven that youngsters can receive will be from godly parents; the opposite is also true-the wrong kind of home influence can be a very strong push toward eternal torment.
They need examples before them. Paul commended the faith in Timothy, and then noted that such was in his mother and in his grandmother before him (2 Timothy 1:5). Children need to be taught the truth in the home, and they have a right to see truth lived out in the lives of their parents. In the home environment, they then should be exposed to the beauty of holiness.
They need to have personal faith in the word. There is no exception- faith is built upon the word of God (Romans 10:17). Young people are responsible and will stand in the judgment (Ecclesiastes 11:9), and they need to hear and know the will of the Lord. Bible instruction, in the home and in the congregation, provides that which spiritually benefits, and such spirituality comes in no other way. Young people must come to a personal knowledge of what is right, and then also to see what is wrong. Bible teaching will provide that which all the hot dogs and pizza in the world cannot give!
They need a sense of responsibility. No one can provide that for them in the way their parents can. To the degree that their age and maturity permit, theirs should be a life having commensurate responsibilities-before God, in the home, before all authority, in school, in the community. They should team of responsibility, and discipline, and the trust that will be given them when they behave properly.
They need love. They do not always need approval, and very often proper love from parents will discipline rather than approve. Love provides what is needed in the circumstance and situation. Love- that is, Bible love- is not weak, permissive and tolerant of wrong. Children need it, and must have it in the Biblical way and in the Biblical measure.
We, in the church, and right now, are paying dearly because in so many places we've provided the pizza, but we've not provided the things just mentioned. Let us purpose in the home and in the congregations to begin doing better and immediately!
GHANA CAMPAIGN 2004