Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teens Aren't Kids On Sunday

We don't include our kids in the adult services (see earlier post), but we don't treat our teens as kids on Sunday.

Yes, I do realize that teens are still kids by a legal definition. But God established age thirteen as the age of adulthood when he designed the first Israeli government (see Exodus). The One who designed humans believed teenagers were capable of making real decisions. So we don't treat them entirely like kids on Sunday. I'm not saying we let our kids drive and vote when they turn thirteen. We don't even let them out of the authority of their parents. But if God thought they're capable of adult interaction in society, then we believe they're capable of joining the adults learning and ministry time.

1 Timothy 4:12
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

We have pretty typical children church lessons up until age twelve (songs, crafts, a bible story, discussion on how that applies to their lives, and snack time, of course). But at age thirteen we ask kids to join the adults. We ask them to bring something to minister during our open ministry. We expect them to offer their thoughts during bible studies. And we expect to learn and grow from them like any other member. They really can inspire us the rest of us to think and change.

So...does that mean youth group? Actually, I totally support many typical youth group activities for the teens. I was a youth pastor for several years and I understand well that teens benefit from a social space just for them, where they can build friendships and seek God together. So retreats and recreation and teen bible studies…all are good ideas for teens.

But when Sunday comes--when the church gathers together--they are not pushed to the side. God used young people throughout the Bible. Why couldn't do it in your church? How much ministry are you leaving undone because you undervalue your teens? How does it impact teens to separate them from the adults on Sunday?

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