Teenagers can get a pretty bad rap; we’re moody, opinionated and spend too much time on our phones just to name a few things. But there is another side to the story. Teenagers are passionate. Passionate about the world we live in and the societies we’re part of. Young people are more and more exposed to the inequality and injustice of the world. They also have more capability than ever before to do something real about it. So go with the moody and opinionated and help them make the most of their phones!
God’s church has been commanded to serve the weakest. Have you ever thought about who are the ones who are most capable and eager to do this? Would it surprise you if it was your young people? This series of blogs will serve to encourage the church in the involvement of youth in seeking justice and showing mercy. We will take a look at why teenagers are so important to mercy ministries and what we can be doing to create a culture of service in the name of the ultimate servant to the world, Jesus.
All people are created in the image of the creator, the creator who gave his son in service to the least deserving. Therefore, we are made with a God given need to serve people in our world, particularly those who are hurting and defenseless. Young people in our church are in the ideal season of life to be serving; they are passionate, full of energy and creativity…. and they can see the world with fresh, creative eyes.
If the church engages its young people, we have the potential to reach an audience that are often otherwise unreachable; other young people in our communities. People under the age of 20 are some of the most vulnerable to homelessness, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, mental illness and isolation. Getting the young people in your church involved in justice and mercy work is one of the best resources you have.
Thanks to globalisation and social media this generation of young people are better connected to their world than ever before. They are more aware of their responsibility to the poor and needy, and more capable to do something practical. Connections to organisations and people from every corner of the world leads to a bigger vision for their future societies and a deeper passion for what is right. Technology allows teenagers to express and share ideas. Justice is all about sharing stories, raising awareness and igniting the flame of change. Christian young people have a unique Christian voice in social media that should be guided and encouraged by the church.
Young people are full of energy and are ready to be given something to do. We are made to work for the kingdom. Embrace teenagers’ eagerness and fervor, focus it on what they are designed to be doing – serving – and when they are ready to get up and go… let them!
Justice, mercy and teenagers are an obvious match. Being involved in giving and defending people in need brings fulfilment and joy, and the young people in our church can be part of that. Sure, teenagers will learn leadership and team work skills, but more importantly they are being set up for a future of imitating the service of Jesus. Young people are blank canvases and the best foundation the church can give them is allowing and encouraging them to roll up their sleeves and do hard things. Incorporating teenagers into how your church serves is an obvious and essential step that is often overlooked. Let your teenagers do what they were designed to do.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12