Are you losing out because you think of youth as the people who will run the church somewhere in the hazy future? Are you invested in youth only because they will keep the church alive after your generation has passed? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you're missing out big time.
Youth are God's incredible gift to God's church and world as they bring creativity, passion, questioning, and incredible optimism and faith. How are you receiving them and what they bring?
~~Creativity: Youth dream and bring new ideas, visions, and ways of doing things, engendering renewal and rebirth to what seemed dull, lifeless, and even dead.
~~Passion: Youth get excited about God and the world, bringing their boundless energy and dedication to serving God and the world. This can pull us out of our discouragement and shake us out of our routine.
~~Questioning: Their questioning of long and dearly held positions and practices can cause us to look anew to see what God is doing now and check whether or not our positions and practices are congruent with God's new thing.
~~ Incredible optimism and faith: For youth, everything often seems possible. God can do all things. This can help adults to stop seeing limitations and see opportunities and God's immense resources.
So the next time you see youth, in church or elsewhere, see them as wonderful people created by God. Give God thanks for this great gift. Challenge yourself to journey with them in mutual discovery of the grace of God and God's beautiful creation with their creativity, passion, questioning, and incredible optimism and faith.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor