What does it mean for us to be intentional? It means that we have a clear end goal, and we actively take steps towards pursuing that goal. Most of us should be familiar with the mission of the church, our goal, as it were: “To glorify God by living the gospel and making disciples to reach the world for Christ.” How then, can our youth be intentional in striving towards this? As a youth overseer, I would like to share three thoughts on how our youths can be intentional, their struggles and how the church can help:
Taking Ownership of our Walk with God
This does not mean that we take an individualistic approach to our faith, rather, that we seek to challenge ourselves to grow spiritually, which includes being accountable and responsible to our local faith community.
One way our youth can do that is to actively seek mentors to walk alongside them. Doing so would help them to remain accountable to someone else, be challenged to grow in certain areas, and draw upon the experiences of someone else.
I am very thankful to have the opportunity to walk alongside a more mature believer, who has challenged me to consider more carefully what it means to be a Christian, be it in terms of how we view vocation, justice, or leadership.
I believe that older members of the church (particularly those in the young adults age range) can be intentional in seeking to walk alongside our youth by being the ones to initiate the mentor-mentee relationship, or by being ready to be called upon to mentor a youth.
Intentionality in Pursuing God
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)
Jesus does not just want disciples who listen to His word, He wants disciples willing to act in accordance with them. Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus teaching about what it means to be a citizen of heaven; the kind of life described here is a countercultural one.
How could our youth apply this in their lives? It means that they should be willing to act in ways that may go against the norms of the world as they seek to obey Jesus. One way they can do this is by extending care and compassion for those who may not be well-liked in their classrooms, taking intentional efforts to befriend them.
Parents could support this by role-modelling for their children what it means to live as a Christian. They can do this by sharing their struggles and how they have overcome them to obey Christ’s commandments to love others as themselves. By being authentic, they can help youths process their struggles in their faith journey.
Embracing Love Disciplines
We take up spiritual habits, such as prayer or reading God’s Word, so that we can be intentional in spending time with God. However, it is challenging for youths to cultivate these habits amidst long hours at school, co-curricular activities that stretch into the evenings, and distractions from their smartphones and social media feed.
Yet, these spiritual disciplines are an essential aspect of our Christian lifestyle. It is important, therefore, for youths to be able to recognise the value of their spiritual habits, beyond merely seeing them as chores or obligations.
Church, let us regularly testify about how love disciplines have been helpful in our faith journey. Let us encourage other believers by sharing the work that God is doing in our lives.
Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate Youth Day this week, let us consider how we can be involved in the development and spiritual growth of our youth. As one body in Christ, there is a part that we can all play in teaching our youths to be faithful followers of Christ.
By Brother Ng Xuan (YCKC Bulletin 5 July 2020)