Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. ~ 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
“Oh, you’re just a baby.” It was a strange phrase. There I was at Supercuts, trying to get my look just right, and the lady cutting my hair had just said it. We had been having a decent conversation (As decent as they get at a hair salon) and then, boom! I was 17 years old, after all. I wasn’t a baby. I was a man! Or so I thought. My voice was low, my muscles were filling out, I even had some chin hair! I was a man! But, to this middle-aged woman, I was just a baby. I didn’t like the stereotype. But, there it was.
Often times, the teens in our churches can relate to this concept. Many desperately want to serve the Lord, serve their communities, or serve their church. But, too often, are told, “You’re just a baby.” Unfortunately, the phrase they hear is “We don’t want you.” It may not be what’s intended, but it is what is heard. We must do better.
However, there are two sides to this issue. It’s not just those who push teens to the side while the grown-ups get to serve. Teens need to step it up a notch. Here’s what I mean.
Stop taking no for an answer. Now, understand me. I don’t mean you get to demand that you get your way and you throw a temper tantrum when you don’t. What I mean is that you insist on getting involved. Keep seeking opportunities to serve.
If you don’t have the opportunity to serve on the praise team, serve in the media team. If you fear public speaking, help the drama teams behind the scenes with set building or wardrobe. There are opportunities galore if you apply yourself and insist on being involved.
Here’s the rub. Let someone older mentor you. What does that mean? Those of us that have been around awhile actually have some pretty decent insight on how to help you succeed.
You see, it’s not one generation’s church. It is all of ours. When all generations work together, ministry succeeds, and people of all ages are blessed. So, here’s my challenge. Teens, step it up. Get involved. If you don’t know where to start, come see me. Let’s talk. To us more seasoned folk, find a teen or two that you can mentor. Show them the value of service. Help them succeed in serving the Kingdom of God.