The Church is grateful for the presence of our young people. Brimming with ideas, curiosity and desire for action, they give life, color and charm to church activities.
Although many of our youth are actively participating in the work of the church, it is also a fact that we are losing a good number of our young people. According to the Youth '93 Survey sponsored by the Commission on Youth of Far Eastern Division, (now Asia Pacific Division), one of the most important reasons why many youth left the church is lack of attention.
Here are some suggestions on what the elder and church can do for its youth:
1. Give the youth opportunity to participate in the plans of the church.
- Include a representative from the youth in the selection of the Nominating Committee.
- Include young people in the roster of officers other than the Youth Department, such as, Youth Elders, Youth Deacons and Deaconesses, and other major church offices.
- Invite responsible young people to the Church Board meetings.
2. Give them the opportunity to actively participate in different activities and programs of the church.
- Allow them to participate in the Divine Worship like offering a prayer, Scripture Reading, or even preaching.
- Encourage and challenge them to conduct the Sabbath School lesson study, Bible studies, Voice of Prophecy crusades, Revelation Seminars, and Youth Week of Prayer meetings.\
3. Equip and train them.
- Encourage and support them to attend seminars, retreats, camping or any youth related activities that will help them learn and develop their talents.
- Conduct seminars for them.
- Teach them how to preach, visit, distribute tracts and give Bible studies.
4. Support them.
- Let the adults join and participate with them during AY meetings.
- Give between 15% to 20% of an offering to the Youth Department.
5. Be kind to them.
- Accept them as they are. Don't be critical of their youthful "different" looks and ways. Remember that length of hair and hemline doesn't constitute one's morals.
6. Provide for their social needs.
- Young people need to socialize with their fellow young people, with whom they learn social graces and living in harmony. Full of energy, they need positive activities to channel them. Provide them social nights, picnics, nature hikes, sports fest and youth retreats.
The local churches may become the "hub for church work—a place for training and nurture, and the base for outreach and fellowship." But it should primarily be a warm, loving and accepting place, with interesting and relevant worship services and church programs. This is conducive to make the youth stay. This conveys a message of joy and grace. The greatest motivation comes when the youth see the church as genuinely caring for them.
Rudy R. Baloyo writes from Philippine where he serves as the Youth Director for the Central Philippine Union Mission.