Some of the finest members of our church are young people who grew up in our church, attended our Christian school, and are serving as laymen and women in our ministry. They are in the will of God, doing the work of God, and will have a great reward from God when they get to Heaven.
In some cases, I believe that they are doing more for the cause of Christ than many pastors I know. This article is in no way intended to diminish their contribution or to suggest that every young person must go into full-time Christian service in order to be a success in their Christian life. I do believe, however, that far more young people ought to go into the work of the Lord than do. I believe we are commanded to, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Here are a few thoughts to that end:
1. Love God and His Work Yourself
Nobody wants to follow in the footsteps of an unhappy, negative, discouraged person. A personal relationship with God, a genuine love for God, and a genuine enthusiasm about the work of God are prerequisites to challenging those over whom we have influence to consider God’s calling in their lives.
2. Regularly Talk about the Good Things God Is Doing in the Ministry
Yes, there will always be people who are critical of us. Yes, there are burdens. Yes, there are pressures. But there are also souls being saved, lives being changed, hearts being touched, families being put back together, and needs being met. We choose what we emphasize in our conversation. What we emphasize in our conversation has a great deal to do with the attitude those around us have about God and His work.
3. Honor Servants of God
If your young people see you roll your eyes as you talk about “another missionary” coming to the church, if they hear you refer to a missionary as a “moochinary,” if they hear you comment on how lazy most pastors are, it is not likely that they will aspire to God’s work.
Now, it is true that there are those in the work of God who do not seem to be worthy servants. There have been rare occasions when we have had to withdraw support from a missionary, stop being a sending church for a particular individual, etc. But by and large, the finest, most sincere, most wonderful, most dedicated people I know are in the work of God. When they come preach for us, I try my best to get a large offering for them. I put them in a nice motel. I put goodies in their room and talk about their sacrifice, their service, and their devotion. I try to “give honor to whom honor is due.”
4. Get Your Young People around Preaching and Preachers
Often, if I am preaching within a couple of hours of our church, I’ll take some young men with me. It may be good on occasion when you have a preacher in, to have him meet with the young people or to meet with those who are interested in full-time Christian work.
5. Challenge Your Young People with the Possibility of Serving God
I do not wish to put anyone on a guilt trip if God did not call them to full-time Christian service. I do wish for them to realize that if God called them into His work, it would be the most glorious, wonderful, blessed way they could ever spend their lives.
6. Make Much of Those Who Have Gone Out from Your Church and Are Now Serving God
Our church has been blessed with pastors, missionaries, Christian school teachers, servants in Christian colleges, and many others throughout the years. When they come home, we always try to give careful and positive attention to them.
7. Encourage Your Young People to Volunteer
While I do not believe God has called everyone into His service, I believe that all of us should “present our bodies a living sacrifice.” It is up to God in which way He wishes to use us, but we must be willing for Him to do anything He wants with our lives.