Where are our young people? More and more churches are struggling to attract young people. Believe me, churches are doing EVERYTHING that they can do to bring young people into their fold, but for some reason they have not been successful.
In the Old Testament there is a very interesting and well known story that can help us with this challenge. It is the story of the anointing of David as King of Israel. Saul the King had messed up, and God decided to choose another King. He sent Samuel, His prophet to Bethlehem to anoint the next King. After going to Jesse and examining every one of the seven kids, God said to Samuel: “It is not this one.” Samuel was puzzled. This is what the text tells us: “So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” 1Samuel 16:11.” The question was: “This is it? Don’t you have any other son?” Samuel knew that one of the sons of Jesse would be the King, but so far all of them were turned down by God. Finally, Jesse said, “There is still the youngest,”. Nobody thought of David.
Like David’s family, churches are treating some young people in the same way. The same attitude that Jesse and his family had toward David, churches are having to many young people. Let us see some of those attitudes:
1. Probably they are not considered important – Sometimes we do not call, or ask kids to participate in the life of the church because we think they don’t have anything to share.
2. Probably they are not treated like the others – We treat kids in different ways. Some kids because of their family, age, intelligence, and strengths, are treated with deference while others are pushed aside.
3. Probably their appearance is not what we expected – Appearance is everything in our time. Sometimes we do not want to have the kids participating in the programs because they do not look the way that we expect with safe piercing, tattoos, and various colors of hair.
4. Probably they are not viewed as leadership material – But sometimes it is just because WE think that they are not good enough to do anything. In OUR opinion they are not leadership material. We do not believe that they can lead.
In David’s story, we see some of those attitudes not only from the father, the brothers, but also from the prophet. God had to reprimand Samuel about that so he could realign the prophet with His will. Here is what the Lord said, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7” .
So, if we want to have young people in our churches we need to be open to working with those that God will call, even though we may not fully understand them.
Have a blessed week,