Youth is not wasted on the young

My career in ministry started at age 13. I had a wonderful elderly pastor who believed in me and instructed me in how to teach my peers. My first lesson was based on Adam and Eve, one of the few stories that I was familiar with.  21 years later, I’m blessed to be a pastor and am lucky enough to have found my calling.

However, not everything in life has been easy, even this religion thing. At 18 I remember being tired of the church and ministry. I was prepared to leave it all behind to live like everyone else. It just wasn’t worth it to me anymore.

I see a lot of young people in the same predicament. While some find an authentic and life changing experience in Christ, many are disillusioned with a religious system that leaves them empty and unfulfilled. Church is good, their parents love it, but in 5-10 years they will transition out of the church and live a life apart from Christ.

And my heart breaks for these youth.

One of my most urgent petitions to God is to give me the insight I need to be able to reach out to this generation. They are so important! The following is a list of things that I would like the young people in my church to understand:

1- I want to teach my young people that we are NOT good.

We come to believe in the concepts of being good and bad. If we do more good than bad, than we are good. Do the opposite and you are bad. A moral grey area is normal.

However, the Bible teaches us that no one is good (Mark 10:18). Our hearts are deceptive and wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are born in sin (Ephesians 2:1-5). All of us are DESPERATELY in need of salvation through Christ!

Good and bad are inconsequential. The only thing that matters is if we righteous through Christ’s sacrifice. Hell is real, and a life apart from God leads us directly there.

2- God does not have grandchildren.

I want my young people to understand that this Jesus thing is not just for Mom and Dad. Just because their parents are praying for them, it doesn’t equate to having a personal relationship with Christ.

They NEED to read their Bibles. They NEED to pray and seek Christ. They NEED to come to church to worship.

However, all of these things require a desire on their part. I pray that they find the desire.

3- There is NO better life than being a real Christian.

Sure, you can be religious and fake the whole thing. But to find Christ is to find the very best in life. After all, Jesus doesn’t save us to make our lives worse, but to give us the very best life possible!

Having Christ means having peace. It means being happy even through the storms of life. It means having an eternal hope instead of one that is placed on the temporal. It means that we understand that life here on earth is good, but is nothing compared to heaven.

The Apostle Paul, facing certain death, writes:

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

There is nothing better than living for a higher purpose and dying with great expectancy for future glory!

Christ doesn’t save us to give us a worse life. He doesn’t want me to wallow in misery. He seeks to give us a life in abundance. So often we try to find our happiness in things like money, careers, friends, sex, going out, or in apathy.

I just want our young people to give Christ a chance. He hasn’t disappointed me, he won’t disappoint you either.