I was recently reading “It begins with Prayer” by Dwayne McCrary of LifeWay. It made me start wondering why students and kids have been left out of the equation when it comes to ministry. We include them in the group to reach and teach them but far too many times we as disciples of Jesus exclude them in the work of ministry. Is this a result of lack of trust or possibly the lack of intentional effort in making disciples? We as a church have made the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19, a classroom experience instead of practical application. You see, the thrust and the emphasis in this verse of scripture is MAKE and you do this AS YOU GO. One of the greatest ways to learn is by doing. This is what Jesus did! As He lived His life He brought along 12 others and taught them how to love God and love others. Jesus poured out His life into His disciples and He has called us to do the very same thing.
I’ve heard so many churches say the Youth are the future of the church, but we know the correct response is they are the church now if they have put their faith and trust in Christ. Maybe the reason so many teens stop coming to church after High School is because we have excluded them in the very thing that helps people build community and stay involved in church their entire life. I wholeheartedly believe serving is one of the main factors for people to build friendships, grow in discipleship, and actively become a part of the local community.
So what about students and kids? I’m glad you asked! We can involve our younger Christ followers by including them in almost every area of church ministry. Think of this, how about we teach our Youth how to be a part of evangelism by bringing them with us as we visit and lead others to Christ. We can teach them about caring by allowing them to make contacts through small groups. This list could go on for a long time. Serving matters, we must be intentional in involving students and kids in ministry as we go!
Written by Jay Barbier, Youth Specialist, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board