Have you ever thought that the way we minister to our youth today will have an impact in the future of the church? You don’t need to be a youth pastor to positively impact the youth of your church; you just need to be intentional to do something in a regular basis on behalf of them. I chose to do that since the beginning of my ministry and, thereafter, in my roles as pastor, departmental director, editor, administrator, and mentor. Sooner or later we will discover the divine dynamics behind this practice.
Ellen G. White says, “Those who are seeking to shield the youth from temptation and to prepare them for a life of usefulness are engaged in a good work. . . May the efforts of all such instructors be crowned with success” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 62, 63). So, pastors, parents, teachers, elders, mentors, chaperons, and any other in leadership and authority over the youth, when doing just that, “are engaged in a good work.” But, when those efforts are made or led by the local pastor, the effectiveness is stronger, the outcome is brighter, and God’s desires are met so we all can say, “May the efforts of such instructors be crowned with success”!
How does your life show that the youth matters to you? Based on my own experience. I would say,
- Show them friendship, compassion, and care. Salute and acknowledge them face to face and to all of them from the pulpit.
- Mentor at least a brilliant one, and another one who has been neglected, ostracized, or abused—and subsequently organize a mentoring program in your church.
- Provide in your church the official youth organizations mentioned in the SDA Church Manual by nominating the best leaders to run the best variety of youth-led activities.
- Proactively involve the youth in worship, leadership, and mission of the church.
- Be a pastor for the children and youth too—and their parents will be happy to support your ministry.
As mentor to Adventurers, Pathfinders, Master Guides, young adults, youth leaders, and young pastors, I have had the immense satisfaction of meeting them at all levels of the Church organization transformed into valuable and successful youth leaders, pastors, teachers, professors, university faculty, departmental directors, and administrators, including a university president. As I have met with them all around the world years after, they express great appreciation for my positive influence through my leadership and mentorship as well as through my sermons, training courses, interviews during my weeks of prayer, magazine articles, handbooks, and conference, union, division and worldwide youth events I have organized or participated in. With amazement, I give God the honor and the glory!
Keep the legacy alive while the Spirit of Prophecy ads, “The Lord of heaven is looking on to see who is doing the work He would have done for the children and youth” (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 42).