I was blessed to see many of the young adults at Hyde Park lead us in worship last Sunday. Our seniors shared about some of their fears, stress, and even at times spiritual laziness, but they also spoke powerfully about God’s presence in their life, and their assurance that His love and guidance will help them in the chapters ahead. It makes me smile to know that these young adults believe in God and want to be faithful followers.
According to recent research done by Fuller Theological Seminary, nearly one in three church attending young people, for various reasons, walk away from their faith after high school. I can be shaken by statistics, but I am moved to act when those numbers are replaced by real students with stories and names. Names like Derek and Jack. Both of these young adults are now in their early 20’s and both were active in my youth ministry in my past. Jack is about to graduate from college and is living for God and sharing his faith with friends. I think of Jack and I am proud to have played a small role in helping shape his faith. Derek was Jack’s friend who also was in our youth group. He however has struggled in life and has made some poor choices. I occasionally talk with Derek, and I am not sure if he even believes in God. I pray regularly for both of these young men and many others like them.
I know that God can do miracles in their lives, but sometimes the miracle God wants to use is the church. It really does take a village to raise a child in the faith. Read and consider the words of Deutronomy 6:4-9:
“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The student ministry at Hyde Park Community UMC strives to come alongside parents and grandparents to teach about God, to shepherd young people and help them feel love and belonging, and to model for them our Christian faith. I am blessed to serve some amazing adult volunteers and teenagers. I would like to invite you to join us on this journey.
The first invitation is that you help support us with prayer. Pray for God to work in the lives our teenagers and for our teenagers to learn to trust and obey God. Pray also for God to provide the leadership our student ministry needs.
Finally, if you have a heart for young people, consider joining our ministry team. We need adults to shepherd, teach, and model for our young adults. We will help train you and encourage you along the way. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar, but you need to have a heart for young people. You will probably meet students like Derek who are distracted and lose their faith, but you will also have students like Jack who become young men and woman for God and make you smile as you think of them. The more we work together the more Jacks we will have!