This Sunday is “Youth Sunday” at Hope. Our teens will take over full leadership of the service: the music, welcome time, receiving the offering, and testifying about how God has been moving in their lives. It will also feature a moment where we get to recognize and pray for graduating seniors at this pivotal moment of accomplishment and transition in their lives. It is always a great day.
For many this is a highlight Sunday of the year. I know it is for me. And no, it is not because I get a Sunday “off”. Hope’s Youth Sunday is an annual gift to me. As I sit in the service, observing a platform full of teens excited about God and His Church, I feel nothing but blessed. In an era where churches struggle to reach teens, I sit there feeling blessed God has filled our quiver with them. In an era where churches wonder how they will survive, I see a healthy future standing tangibly in front of me. In an era where people wonder what the future will hold, I see the instruments standing in front of me that God is going to use to impact that future. So I sit there and feel blessed. I just can’t help it.
I also feel grateful. I feel gratitude for those who take the lead week in and week out to make youth ministry happen at Hope. But I am also grateful for all of you for creating a church culture where that can and does happen. Way too often churches fret over the “dings and stains” a group of teens can inflict on a building. They see youth ministry as a problem to be fixed. But Hope has never done that. It has always seen youth ministry as an opportunity to be embraced. There is no doubt a group of active teens can be hard on a building and that youth ministry costs more to run than most other ministries, but you have always embraced this as a small price to pay to be engaged in Kingdom building work. You have valued and appreciated those who have taken point in serving them, encouraging them in what at times can be sleepless work. So as I sit in the worship center on Sunday, know that I am grateful that God has blessed us with a lively youth ministry and all that it means. Also know, I am grateful for you.