I went to interview a group of youth about their involvement in LOGOS and LOGOS Summer Conferences. Listen to this group of teenagers share why they set aside time each week to attend a weekly LOGOS ministry and the week long LOGOS Conference in the summer. They share their excitement about coming together in this relational ministry and what it means to them and their faith. I was completely surprised by the depth of their answers. The real reasons why they gather each week comes through loud and clear. They want relationships, a place to ask questions and seek answers, spiritual growth, an accepting environment, a place to belong and a gathering where they can be themselves and of course it has to be engaging and fun. What a great way to measure our own effectiveness in ministry with youth. It sounds like they are asking that ministry be practical, purposeful and impactful. What also came through loud and clear is that they don’t want to be talked at and they want a lot more than just fluff. Listen to the excitement as they share why they come to church each week.
As I have thought about our role in leading, raising and mentoring children, I have been wondering, especially at this time of year, whether we are raising our children to truly be Easter people. There are some characteristics of Easter people that I think are critical for us to pass on to our children in both word and role modeling. Some of those characteristics that come to mind are as follows. Easter People are:
- People who live with new abundant life. (John 10:10)
- People who live with the promise of the resurrection. (Romans 6:5)
- People who live with faith and hope. (Hebrews 11:1)
- People who rejoice always, pray constantly and give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- People who live as obedient disciples. (2 John 1:6)
- People who are willing to sacrificially take up their cross for the sake of Jesus. (Matthew 16:24)
- People who are filled with abundant love for God and other people. (Mark 12:29-31)
- People who are filled with joy. (Acts 14:17)
- People who put Jesus as Lord (Ruler, King, Number 1) in their lives. (Romans 14:8)
- People who live out their faith daily. (James 2:17)
Are we raising our children as Easter people? What other things would you add to this list that the Bible says is critical to be an Easter person?
It is clear to me that the book of James says it is up to us. In James chapter 2 we read, “What good is it if you have faith but do not have works?”
How can we expect young people, our children- God’s children, to be a part of the church, to grow in their faith, to have a saving relationship with God if we are not doing the work it takes to make this happen today.
What good is it to say, “oh things would be so much better of if young people came to church” or, “if only young people today had faith and morals” but we aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen. We aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to reach out, bring them in and help them.
We can complain about all of their behaviors, we can complain about their disrespect, we can complain about their absence from the church not to mention music, movies and other media but if we aren’t willing to be the agents of change nothing will be different. In his book Helping Our Children Grow in Faith, Robert Keely shares in his research that one of the key problems we have is “adults are not willing to work hard enough to make worship accessible for children.” In other words, we don’t want to sacrifice our wants, desires and conveniences to welcome the child.
I am convinced that our faith and our desires to pass that faith on to the next generation are absolutely dead and meaningless if we are not willing to take the action necessary to do something about it.
What about you? Are you doing whatever it takes to make sure the church you attend is wide open to the young in your community?
“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
The words below are written by a 15 year old girl who wrote this journal in response to her daily devotions. She has given us permission to share them with you. It is a good reminder of the way we should approach our life and relationship with God:
You are an over comer. God has destined you and created you to overcome. You have been given the gift of overcoming. For He has already overcome. He has won. He has power over death, and He wants you to live with Him as He lives. He wants you to carry out His image. The image that screams Overcome. Overcome sin, fear, and failure. That doesn’t mean you will always succeed but you will always be able to overcome. You will see who you can be and what you need to do to get you there. It may be as simple as talking to God, spending time with God. But, I promise you that you will overcome whatever it may be that you feel is holding you back, preventing you from starting, or tying you up. It says in John 15 that you are the branches and He is the vine. That means if you remain in Him, you will be an over comer. It is a step by step process to which you can get to this overriding state. As the dictionary reads “to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: to overcome the enemy.” You are destined to overcome to see for yourself who you really are. Remain in Him and you will see Him within yourself. Remain in Him and you will have his attributes. Be cognoscente of the fact that you are His. You have a journey ahead of you. A plan, if you seek Him whole heartedly. God has an immeasurable amount of love for you. How could we expect the least of it? Don’t think for a second that His best won’t reach you because you are His. You have been chosen as a Child of God, to be used by Him and for Him to do great wonders. You are his Hands and Feet. Overcome. Let go of the fear, the struggle, the pain, and the loss. Overcome. Let go and let God. Let Him work through you. The destiny of overcoming will show the world who God truly is. Live it out. The reason why I think it is your destiny is because of the fact that once you have overcome and become free in His name, you have become usable. God will use you in unfathomable ways to touch you and His fellow children. Overcome. Know that you have peace and love and grace flowing in your direction every day. Overcome. Begin to realize that you can do anything through Christ Jesus who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13). What are you facing today? What can be done about that? Overcome. Overcome with strength, perseverance, goals, and Jesus who supplies all those things. Take that step of faith today and reach out. You will get the better of it. You will defeat the enemy. How do I know? Jesus did. He never gave into sin once. Yet, since we are human we do sin. However, what is holding you back from not making the same mistake over and over again? Whatever gets you day in and day out….Don’t give into it today. Don’t settle your standards for anything less. Don’t think that today will be just an ordinary day with the same troubles. It won’t be. We have no clue what is in store for today. But rather rejoice for the strength that we know we can receive today. Become that over comer today and don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t settle for mediocrity because we don’t have a God of mediocrity. We have the everlasting God. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.”(Isaiah 41:2). May you not either. May you not grow tired or weary because He will supply your strength. Better yet, He is your strength, your hope, your goal, your desire, your want, your need, your care, your supplier, and your EVERYTHING. You CAN Overcome!
Here at The LOGOS Ministry, we know that ministry with young people, cross-generational relationships and a weekly balanced ministry where young people learn God’s word and then are given the opportunity to live it out truly does make a difference.