by Scott Graham
Our young people must hear a voice both in and out of the pulpit reaffirming that God has a mission for their lives. It is imperative that service to the kingdom be elevated in its status, for in far too many homes the American dream has crowded out the heavenly dream. We have seen such things as an ongoing decline in Bible college enrollment in favor of a more “beneficial” degree program. Temporal rewards have become more highly sought than eternal ones by youth and their parents.
Resident on the pews and chairs of United Pentecostal Churches across North America resides a resource that demands our attention. Seated midst the young men and women who weekly worship are pastors, evangelists, missionaries, Christian educators, music ministers, worship leaders, song writers, soul winners, home Bible study teachers, prayer coordinators, and a host of other ministry-oriented lives. They merely await a leader who will identify, then verify, and then qualify them for the work God has planned for their future.
IDENTIFY: Those of us in leadership roles in the church must actively look for ministries waiting to be born in our young people. It is not enough for us to merely wait for a young man or a young woman to come to us with an expressed desire to do something for God. We must intentionally seek out the leadership gifts resident in our youth groups. There is no danger of our “calling” someone into ministry, for in reality every person in the body is already called to minister in some capacity. We are simply facilitating that commission by looking beyond the often-juvenile behavior and “you thy” trends to see the potential resident in the futures before us each service.
VERIFY: Our young people must hear a voice both in and out of the pulpit reaffirming that God has a mission for their lives. It is imperative that service to the kingdom be elevated in its status, for in far too many homes the American dream has crowded out the heavenly dream. We have seen such things as worldly ambitions and dispatching them on a quest to pursue the ministry God has for them.
QUALIFY: Having built in our young people a desire for ministry, we must then better equip them for that work. Intentional, focused training efforts should be incorporated into every local youth ministry. Elective leadership classes, spiritual development programs, and regular ministry opportunities do not just happen by chance. They must be planned, produced, and provided. Introduce a Sunday morning leadership class. Begin a structured prayer and study schedule.
Both in preaching and in private conversations our young people need to hear that seeking first the kingdom of God is the highest ambition for a life-that with some select young people. Turn one Wednesday night a month over to the youth to lead. Participation will not be a problem, as our young people long to fulfill what God has been speaking to them about. When their passion connects with our mentoring, the result is ministry for the generations to come! Success is defined not by what we accumulate but by what we offer.
Scott Graham serves as pastor at The young people from the burden of Sanctuary in Hazelwood, Missouri.
JANUARY 2009 59