A misconception many people tend to believe is that teenagers are in process of becoming disciples and have yet to arrive--as if any of us have already arrived. This notion places them in a lesser position, one that places youth in the ‘Church of tomorrow’ category rather than placing them within the active body of Christ today.
Mustn’t we forget that Youth were used throughout all of scripture in some of the most profound of ways:
Mary became pregnant with Jesus as a teenager.
The twelve disciples closest to Jesus were likely in their teenage years.
David was overlooked as a teenager yet was anointed as king by Samuel.
Moses likely left the comfort of his royal home to identify with God’s people as a teenager.
Jesus fed thousands of people from the lunch of a young boy who was the only among the crowd of people to have the audacity to believe that Jesus could do a miracle. Youth undoubtedly represented God in some of the most profound was in all of scripture. (Jn 6:1-14)
And we must believe the same about them! Today our youth are impacting communities in ways that older people cannot. They are believing and trusting Jesus for their future, and their faith is something churches need and should want.
Let us put this into perspective for a moment:
This year, a 16 year old from California invented a new way for people with vision impairments to engage with technology.
This year, a 15 year old from the UK lended her voice to one of the most popular kids television programs, giving joy to millions of kids around the world.
This year, a 14 year old from Washington started a business selling buttons, his business employs 9 people and they’re all adults.
This year, a 13 year old was responsible for stopping her mother from taking her own life.
This year, an 18 year old started a ‘stop-bullying’ campaign changing and impacting countless schools around the US
And this only begins to scratch the surface! Teenagers will invent, create, evangelize, teach, and go places adults would never set foot. It’s time churches embrace teenagers and see them the way God has always seen them: as partners in the Gospel, and as members of His Church.
So why are teenagers the church of today and not tomorrow? Because they’ll take the kingdom of God to places those older than them would never set foot. What teenagers need from you: they need people to rally around them and actually believe that their crazy ideas could work. They need people to point them to Jesus, and in doing so, you’ll find that they’re actually pointing you to Jesus.