Five Ways to Encourage Youth in Total Member Involvement
By Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
1. Encourage youth to develop a personal relationship with Jesus through daily time in the Word, time in prayer, and through active witnessing and evangelism. Show them by your own example what true faith, authentic Christianity, and discipleship look like as empowered by the Holy Spirit. Encourage them to seek even higher ideals for God’s honor and glory. Time is short. Let’s put away all spiritual pretense. Young people long to see godly, sincere Christianity being lived out in today’s world. They long to know that the God we serve is real, and able to do far abundantly above and beyond all we ask or think.
2. Encourage youth to be creative as they seek to follow Biblical principles in finding ways to be part of Total Member Involvement. In fact, Ellen White writes, “Never, never feel the slightest disturbance because the Lord is raising up youth to lift and carry the heavier burdens and proclaim the message of truth” (Letter 14, Dec. 11, 1891). The work before us is large, and it can’t be completed by church leadership alone. All must be involved: Leaders, laity, old, and young … especially our youth! Remember, youth aren’t inhibited by the same limitations that we often see as adults. Because of this, they dream big, pray big, and plan big! We need this energy, enthusiasm, and passion of our young people to help in sharing the everlasting gospel as centered in the three angels’ messages. Then true revival and reformation will sweep our globe, and Jesus will finally return.
3. While we should mentor our young people, as long as what they are doing is biblical and is producing good fruit (Matt. 7:17, Isa. 8:20, 1 Thes. 5:21, Phil. 4:8), don’t try to control them too tightly or hold them back from moving forward with enthusiasm for the sake of the gospel. Give them freedom to work and rally others together for God’s glory. Support them and encourage them in their efforts. This is God’s work. It’s bigger than we are! It’s bigger than our church. And if their work is truly of God, He is fully capable of taking care of His work! As we get closer to the end of time, the Spirit will be the one controlling the work. In fact, God will use simple means that we don’t expect to accomplish His great purposes. Ellen White writes: “God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 300). Therefore, let’s not discourage our youth as they are seeking to do great things for God!
4. Look for active ways to encourage youth in their many different endeavors to be involved and lead out. Look for ways to give them greater responsibilities by getting them involved in making decisions, in leading out in evangelism, preaching, and in rallying the support of their fellow youth in sharing the great commission. Encourage them when they form prayer groups, when they lead out in Bible studies, and when they work to see the good news shared far and wide. Again Inspiration tells us, “Make [the youth] feel that they are expected to do something. The Lord chooses them because they are strong” (Gospel Workers, p. 279). We far underestimate what truly dedicated godly young people can accomplish for God’s glory!
5. Finally, pray with youth and encourage them to pray for one another and for their local churches. Encourage them to pray that those who have left the church can be re-claimed, that unbelievers would find the truth, and that the proclamation of the three angels’ messages can go forward with power, opening the way for the outpouring of the latter rain. Let every member, every adult, every young person, be involved. This is what Total Member Involvement is all about! This is what Total Youth Involvement is all about! “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world” (Education, p. 271). Let’s get ready! Jesus is coming soon!
This article by Ted N.C. Wilson appeared in Presidential Perspectives July 28, 2016 and is being reprinted with permission. To read the original article click here.
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