Breakfast with our children and youth workers

On Saturday morning, our church Leadership Team had breakfast with our children and youth workers.  30 or so came and another dozen couldn’t make it.  It was our way of saying “thank you” to them for their amazing work over the past year.  Later we prayed for them individually, asking God to equip them in their future ministry.  Committed people that they are, many then stayed on for Holiday Club training,.

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Their work is made even more special because of the profound changes in youth culture in the past decade, and into which even those from Christian families or with their own faith find themselves thrust.  Time magazine, within the past two years, claimed  that British youth are violent, drunken and out of control.

Its headline reads: "Unhappy, Unloved and Out of Control – An epidemic of violence, crime and drunkenness has made Britain scared of its young."  It also poured scorn upon the parenting abilities of the British, claiming they do not spend enough time with their children and cannot cope.

More than a fifth of Britons avoided going out at night rather than risk encountering groups of intimidating youths.  "It’s easy to see why.  The boys and girls who casually pick fights, have sex and keep the emergency services fully occupied are often fuelled by cheap booze."

It said that British youngsters drink far more than their European counterparts, are more frequently involved in violence and are more likely to try drugs, adding that English girls are the most sexually active in Europe.  It’s small wonder then, that a 2007 Unicef study of child well-being in 21 industrialised countries placed Britain firmly at the bottom of the table,"

With that as a background, what a vital task children’s and youth workers have in co-operation with parents:

These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.

Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you.  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

There are two principles here:

1. God is holy; and we must do things his way in order to please him. Therefore, we must know what the Lord says and then actually obey him by doing just what he says. Our standards come from God’s standards. As these commands have been taught to us, we need to teach them to others.

2. God wants us to think in terms of generations. We are not only to think of our children but our children’ s children. The ‘you,’ ‘your children,’ and ‘your grandchildren’ reflect three generations. What we do with our lives greatly impacts the lives of the next generations. The ‘fear of the LORD’ is the conscious presence of God, which influences our lives. Many people live their daily life as if God has nothing to say about how they should live.

If a generation only has knowledge of his commands and no love for Jesus Christ (where Christianity has degenerated into a mere religion), then the next generation will depart from those commands.

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How do we avoid this generational decline?

Parents and church communities have to pass on the fear and knowledge of the Lord to their children and children’s children. They need to do everything to pass on a heart and passion for the Lord as well as knowledge of the Lord’s commands.

If we live compromising lives, then we live as if we are already in the second generational stage. Our children will, for the most part, leave the Lord. They do not believe because we do not really believe. Genuine faith always touches our life’s priorities. Only a false religious faith permits a division between ‘belief’ and life.

So what a privilege!

1. To see them grow to love God

To see them discover a lifelong walk with Christ, a personal commitment of faith, a meaningful prayer life, how to worship in private and corporate settings, knowledge and understanding of Bible truths and how to live as a Christian in a world of religious pluralism.

2. To see them love one another!

To see them grow in their understanding and acceptance of themselves and therefore an ability to love ones neighbour as oneself, as well as a commitment to Christian morality within relationships – especially in sexual matters, and building Christian community.

image3. To make disciples themselves!

To adopt a Christian life-style in a world of limited resources and inequitable distribution of resources and power,   -  make constructive use of their leisure time, witness about their personal faith, choose a vocation, steward of their money, time, and abilities, and participate in mission.

What a privilege!

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