This Sunday is Youth Sunday at the church. Our youth will be leading much of the service, providing the message, and helping to serve the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. I can’t begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to worship this week.
Just thinking about it, I find my mind darting back years ago to when I was a young person. It was while I was in the youth group that I first began to feel the tug of God on my life. As a child, I had been raised in the church, but as a part of the natural process of adolescence, it was during my teenage years that I began asking questions about the faith and started entering into my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
It was also during those years that I first heard the call of Christ on my life to go into the ministry. The first time came while I was away at youth camp. One night, after the lights had all been turned out, as I lay on my top bunk in our cabin, I heard the still small voice of Christ saying, “Dan, I want you to join me in my ministry.” There was no emotion to it. It was just a simple request that I heard Christ making of my life and I simply replied, “Okay.”
The next time came a few years later when I was on an Appalachian Trail Hike with our youth group. We had camped at a place called Charlie’s Bunyon, about five miles from New Found Gap in North Carolina. Charlie’s Bunyon is a large boulder that jets out of the side of the mountains. It is about a thousand foot drop to the ground below, but has one of the most magnificent views in all of creation. Early the next morning, I crawled out onto the boulder and watched the sunrise. To this day, I can remember uttering under my breath, “Lord, if you can do something like this with a hunk of dirt, surely you can do something with my life.”
Back to our youth. I can’t wait to hear of their experiences and how Christ has been active in developing their relationship with God during this important time in their lives. Each year during this service, I learn things about our young people I did not know – ways that Christ has actively shaped and influenced their lives. In the process my own faith is renewed.
I also know that your presence at the service is such an encouragement to them. Those who are participating in the service will remember it for the rest of their lives, and by your being a part of that service you are not only reaffirming that they matter, you are helping to shape them for the rest of their lives.
Thank you for being the kind of church that holds our youth in such high regard. It makes a bigger difference than you may ever realize. For the lives you have helped to shape are also already shaping the lives of others.