Youth Ministry ≠ Pre-Game Warm-up

Posted on: January 26, 2015, by :

While meditating on Hebrews 12:1-3 I was encouraged by something that I have always thought, but have never been able to defend with scripture. 

Youth are not in a holding pattern. 
Youth are not prepping for their time in the trenches. 
Youth are the Church!

The writer of Hebrews uses the runner as an analogy for the Christian life.  If any of you know me, you know that I am certainly not a runner, but I have watched people run, and with that wealth of knowledge I continue this post with full confidence that I can in fact understand what is going through the mind of a runner prior to a race. 

The runners in the Olympics for example take amazing precautions to prepare their body for the race.  Whether the race is as short as 100M or as long as 26.2mi, the runner prepares themselves for what will take place after the starting gun fires.  Sprints and long distance races are different in how a person prepares for the race, but are similar in the fact that the runner must be prepared to endure them. 

However, Christianity is not a sprint, it is a marathon.  I feel confident in the fact that a person who is preparing to run the 100M dash is not training for “Endurance” which happens to be the word used to describe the way the Believer runs in Hebrews 12:1.  Running a 100M dash with endurance may be what I would do, but not a person who is prepared.  But what of the preparation for the Marathon of Christianity? How is it that we should be prepared?  When do we “Throw off every weight and sin…so that we may run with endurance?”

For the believer, the starting gun has already sounded.  We are already running, and as we grow tired of our race, we look down and find that we are fitted with a stylish pare of Ugg boots.  Sure they look great on us, but they don’t help us run.  We lay aside the style and find ourselves some proper running shoes. 

Hebrews does not include a Pre-Game Warm-up phase.  The readiness with which we run, is given to us by the Holy Spirit.  It is even indicated in a different passage of scripture about how we prepare each day for the battle that is before us. 

…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.
Ephesians 6:15

Students are just as ready for the battle of Christianity as adults, and in many ways are held back by the idea that their day to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ exists in the distant future.  Those ideas cripple an entire section of the church and weaken the church’s ability to engage the lost. 

Churches, pastors, youth ministers, and parents must open their eyes to the fact that youth who have been called by the Holy Spirit to faith, are equipped to serve the kingdom.  We must create opportunity for these children of the Most High God to be obedient to the call of Jesus to make disciples of all nations.   Students should be serving the greater church in every way possible.