the Rev. Willie Israel
It's hard for young people to grow up Christian in a secular world. Often, our children study and play among peers who have never heard of Jesus Christ (except as swear-words) and who have not experienced a home life that is centered around worship of the Savior.
We have a Biblical mandate to instill in our children the knowledge of the saving power of Jesus Christ. If we are to counter the influence of the secular popular culture, each member of the community must share in the responsibility, whether by teaching, by example, or simply by being present and taking the time to affirm children's growth in the Lord.
Children need to know that they are accepted and valued members of the community, rather than a nuisance to be tolerated. They need to know that, even though the world offers many things to fear, they will find a safe haven in their church community. They need to know that their questions will be answered honestly and lovingly, and that they will be encouraged at every stage of their spiritual development.
It is, indeed, a daunting responsibility to pass on the Christian faith to the next generation, but it is not impossible, if we work together. I believe it is important for young people to develop social and spiritual ties within a Christian setting. As your pastor, I am committed to working with our older youth on Sunday evenings, but I need help from other members of our congregation. God is, at this time calling some of you to work actively with our young people. If God is calling you to this ministry, let me know. We will develop a program for our youth that is both fun and fulfilling for the adult helpers as well as for the kids. You will see that there is great joy in answering God's call!