Most of our churches today confront a similar dilemma, how to attract and hold the youth. A church with no youth is a dying church. The answer to the problem; however, does not lie in attracting them with worldly music and activities. That merely corrupts the church without resulting in changed lives among the young.
We recently made our annual trip to a Christian youth conference known as GYC -- Generation* Youth* Christ* -- which targets those aged 18 to 35 years of age. (We older ones are allowed to come for a price.) It is an amazing experience to be among 6500 predominantly serious young adult Christians of diverse backgrounds, who are all part of this youth-initiated and-led movement "united in a common commitment to serious Bible study, intense prayer, uncompromising lifestyle, and boldness in sharing Christ with others."
So frequently we think that the youth just want to be entertained, but this conference, planned and executed by youth, makes no such provision. The days are filled with challenging talks, seminars to help better equip the participants for sharing the gospel, prayer times, and community outreach. We feel energized just being around the young people, and it inspires us with hope for the future.
In Ecclesiastes 12:1 we read "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Imagine how rapidly the gospel would spread if all the youth, with their vigor and risk taking, were on fire for the Lord? "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" Lamentations 3:27. Their strength and energy are so much needed. The apostle Paul trusted heavy responsibilities to young adults. His admonition to Timothy was "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity" 1 Timothy 4:12.
How many youth are out there longing to grow in Christ and just waiting to be challenged with responsibilities for the Lord? Let us include them as fellow workers, and never forget to lift them up in prayer.
(Two websites loaded with talks, seminars, and sermons both by and for young adults are www.gycweb.org and www.audioverse.org )
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.