I remember a cliche that was thrown around quite a bit when I was a teenager. “You young people are the church of tomorrow.”
So what about today? What am I supposed to do with myself right now? Conference after conference, I would leave thinking about what I could maybe do “one day” for God, but never having an understanding that I could do something NOW.
Then, somewhere along the lines, someone got a revelation, and declared “These young people are not just the church of tomorrow, they’re the church of today!” Shouting ensued. Revelation swept the sanctuary. We got it. We can make a difference right now! Thank God someone came to combat the cliche!
But I wonder…has our “anti-cliche” become a cliche itself? Now it’s very seldome that I’m at a youth event that I DON’T hear the speaker utter that phrase. “You young people are the church of today!” I have to ask myself an important question though:
Do we really believe that?
Think about it seriously for a minute. Do we really believe this generation is the church of “right now?” Do we believe they can do incredible things for God NOW? I know we say it, but do our actions match our rhetoric? Do we train them for ministry? Do we give them opportunities to pursue their callings? Do we engage them in the work of God? Or do we just talk about it while WE lead all the services, WE preach all the sermons, WE sing all the songs, and WE teach all the Bible studies?
I had the priviledge of taking my students to North American Youth Congress this year. To say that it was a landmark conference would be a gross understatement. I think what we witnessed was the culmination of a shift in the mindset of Apostolic students that has been taking place for a few years now. I know, at least among my students, the light bulb seemed to come on. They seemed to realize, “Wow, I really can make a difference NOW. I can preach NOW. I can teach Bible studies NOW. I can get engaged in missions NOW. I can grow the church NOW.”
We’re witnessing a generation that is experiencing what Jeremiah did in 20:9 of his book:
But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word
is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it
in; indeed, I cannot.
There is a fire building in the hearts of Apostolic students all across this nation. There’s an explosion that is waiting to take place. But, we MUST give that explosion an outlet, or we can inadvertantly cause the demise of our own students spiritually. Go with me on this.
Check out this video. The Mythbusters are attempting to explain why a bomb going off in a bunker with the windows closed would certainly result in death, but if the windows were open it could be survived:
Our students have received an explosion of Apostolic annointing under our ministries, and the ministries of others who have spoken into their lives at youth camps, conferences, etc. If we open doors for our students, that explosion have a chance to mushroom. The shockwaves have a chance to spread, and who knows how many lives can be positively affected! But if we try to put them in a box, contain it, or put a lid on it until we’ve perfected them, we run the risk of seeing them implode, and give up spiritually.
I’ve seen it way too many times – students and saints alike held back while we try to get them “more ready.” That’s not a Christ-like model. Jesus didn’t wait until his disciples had it figured out to use them. Remember when he taught them to pray, then sent them out to minster? They came across a demon they couldn’t cast out. Oh my…they weren’t ready for this!!! What will we do!
Think about if that was us. There’s no way we would have let that happen. There would have a PowerPoint, a 4-lesson series, a leadership development class, and certification process before we ever would have let that student venture out into ministry. Now don’t get me wrong; I am for all of those things! We do it, too! But at some point we have to give them to opportunity to learn from experience.
If we really want to help our students grow, we need to get to a point where our students are doing less listening, and more doing. That means our Youth Services may not be quite as perfect. It means you may have to bail a student out when he gets up to preach for what he thinks is 20 minutes and it ends up being 2. You may to explain to that parent on the phone why your student just told Johnny Baptist in that Bible study that he’s going to Hell if he doesn’t speak in tongues. You may have to endure an off-key solo from Suzie while she tries to determine if music ministry is her calling or not. But if they learn to change their world, isn’t it worth it?
So let’s give them a microphone, hand them a Bible study chart, hand over the keys to the riding mower, and sit back and watch God mold them into what He’s called them to be.
This is a Generation of Giants. Let’s get out of their way.