“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”— 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
I had the privilege of going on a retreat with our church youth this past weekend.
We enjoyed being tucked away with other churches at a camp that got blanketed by snow, but the warmth on the inside was great fun—games, movies, songs, activities, and Bible studies. Although I got sleep-deprived, I was back in my element: youth ministry.
I realized how much I had missed it. And how good it felt to be back in it. As I look forward to developing high school ministry at our church (as a volunteer), my heart feels good. But one of the things I already know is that I can’t do it alone: we need each other.
On Saturday we went through a Bible study on spiritual gifts. As the body of Christ, we are all important, and every gift can be used for God. Using 1 Corinthians 12:4-31 as a discussion point, our group wrote out our gifts and talents and shared them with one another. I just need to say it—we have talented youth in our church! And as we talked about how we could share our gifts with our schools, homes, and communities, the ideas flowed, and plans were made.
Many often think youth are just kids. Just people with smartphones and ear buds and strange clothes, and a penchant for anything media-driven, breathing air, the church of the “future”. But they are important parts of the church—both TODAY, and in the future. Our youth of today are leading the church of both today and tomorrow. They will be our pastors, youth workers, choir directors, and deacons. They will be visiting us aging adults in our nursing homes, giving us communion, and settling church budgets. How will they learn to do these things if we don’t give them the chance now?
I came home inspired by our youth. They made a plan to put their faith in action by making care kits for homeless people that stand on exit ramps with cardboard signs, less than a mile from our church. They notice these people, day after day, and decided it’s time to help. I am inspired by young people who want to change the world, knowing it can be better than it is now.
If your paths run across youth in your jobs, church, life, or neighborhood, I invite you to get to know them. Find out what amazing people they can be, and join them, shoulder to shoulder, to work out their gifts in a hurting world that needs God’s love.
Prayer–“Gracious God, you place young people in our lives to teach us and give us new perspective. Help us be open and welcoming to them, knowing they are the church of today and the church of tomorrow. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”