IN GOOD HANDS
By DANNY MINTON
Turn on the TV, listen to a conversation, or walk down the mall and you’ll get a picture of the world of our youth today. Sex, violence, drugs, are shown and discussed in many circles. The apathetic work ethic and laziness are thrown out for us to consider. We label a whole generation based on what we see and hear in the media or on the street.
I don’t know how many of the youth fall into the above scenario, but I venture to say the same things were said about those who grew up in the sixties, seventies, eighties and so on. When the Beatles took the scene with their “long hair,” parents were in outrage. When Elvis wiggled his hips on the Ed Sullivan show, they only showed him from the waist up. Pictures of Woodstock present a picture of wild young people and a question of where the world was headed.
So, it’s not different hearing the stories of today and the youth. What’s the future going to be like? Where is the world headed? Where will the church be tomorrow?
I sat in the youth area Wednesday night and observed probably 80 to 90 of the Southern Hills high school and middle school students. They began by singing songs of praise to God, not talking but singing. The music was louder than I’m used to, but I could still hear their angelic voices, voices of youth proclaiming, “Jesus Christ, Cornerstone.” It brought both chills and tears listening to them sing, young people who in the midst of a world of hate, drugs, violence, and turmoil were taking time to sing the praises of God.
They split up with the High Schoolers heading upstairs and the Middle Schoolers remaining. I stayed to listen to the middle school lesson. A young woman, Jenny Gower, was the speaker. She began with a game to illustrate the lesson. When she asked for volunteers, more than half the room raised their hands. I thought, “If only adults would be that quick to volunteer when called upon!”
Later, a scripture from Philippians was shown on the screen, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” She again asked for volunteers to read the verse and another twenty hands were raised. How often does half the congregation come forward when volunteers are needed? There’s a lesson there for all of us if we’ll just pay attention.
She shared how we need to spend time not just reading God’s Word but studying it. Not looking at only one verse, but context and the verses around it. Reading what the rest of the Bible says on a subject. She shared that to really understand God’s word we have to do more than just read. We have to get deep into the Word.
I saw these young people singing, praying and studying God’s word. Intently paying attention to something that would fill their lives with good and wholesome thoughts and challenge them to move forward in life. Tomorrow they would be thrown back into a world filled with temptations and influences that are contrary to what they have just been taught. However, now they would have something to lean back on to help keep themselves focused.
As they divided up and I left the room, I thought about these young people. I thought about their leaders in the youth program and youth programs everywhere. There are groups of teens like this in every church. There are in a world of chaos teens who want to do good and share Christ.
I thought with teens like this and in other places across our city and country that there is still hope, a hope that Jesus promised would never fail.
With teens like these, the church of tomorrow is in “Good Hands!”
“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”–Proverbs 22:6
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ