More Young People

The theme of the 2008 session of the Virginia Annual Conference is, “More Young People!” There is a strong emphasis on ministry to and with youth and young adults.

Today, one of our speakers shared the quote: “Like a magnet, youth orient themselves to culture’s most powerful force that desires them.”

How true! Youth are drawn to the t.v. shows, music, and material things aimed at them because they’re lured by the fact that advertisers and marketing execs really desire teens and their buying power! (It is the most powerful purchasing demographic. Remember the days when money earned was free to be spent and wasn’t already claimed by a bill? That’s why teens are such targets for marketing…)

They get pulled into cultures that desire them – make them feel good, happy, and valued.

Does the church have any hope of competing?

Absolutely. But, it takes more than a dynamic youth ministry and quality programming to counter this cultural pull. It takes adults -lots of them- who are willing to invest time and energy into building relationships with youth.

Our speaker challenged us today that every single teen in a church should have at least 7 adults who love and care for them. Who know their name and what is going on in their lives. Who pray for that teen. At Warrenton we have a fantastic confirmation mentor program! We also have various adults who are dedicated to teaching, serving, and working with our youth throughout the year. But there are so many teens who don’t have a church home and if we have any hope of reaching out to them – of calling them to live life as a Christ follower, not as a culture follower – it will take many more adults.

Adults willing to step out in faith and have awkward conversations with kids who listen to different music and watch different t.v. shows…but who are looking to be loved as they are – a child of God.

The words of advice from the youth our speaker works with? “Don’t be afraid of us.”

As our church – the entire Virginia Annual Conference, including Warrenton UMC, reaches out to more young people I hope we can take their advice and go about showing love and care to those youth who so desperately need to hear the church calling them – telling them that we desire to have them be a part of us so that we can love them well!