The radical rock musicianary from Australia DAVID EVANS looks at why today's youth is so undervalued in the Church.
In this day and age there is a growing concern in my heart about the way we see our youth. I feel that there is so much negative reinforcement from our social surroundings that we tend to fall into the trap of being too careful and negative in our view of young people and ministry. God has shown me that we have fallen into a trap, which is called the warning trap. The Holy Spirit showed me that we have as a result of this subconscious warning trap created self-assessive rather than self-expressive young people in the Kingdom. I wrote a song to leaders and youth workers and those in responsibility to illustrate what I mean.
"God Believes In You"
He was brought up under a church pew
On his heart was the call of God
But he did nothing with his gift, nothing with the gift he got
Cause you warned him about his weakness
You warned him that he could fall
You warned him about the sinful heart
Now he's got no faith in his heart at all
But God believed in him
God covered his sin
God poured faith into his spirit
And one day his mantle will arise
And with a tear in your eyes
You will finally realise
YOU HAD NO PART OF IT
Remember when you were young
God called you and you went for it
But you quickly found you didn't fit
Because what they couldn't understand they would not allow
But you pressed on through all the doubt
And God somehow worked it out
And you survived
So do you remember now
that God believed in you
God pulled you through
God poured faith into your spirit
And one day your mantle did arise
And with a tear in the doubters eyes they finally realised
THEY HAD NO PART OF IT
It seems that young people in particular in our congregations have stopped being self-expressive and promoting their big dreams because of this unstated negative spirit against anyone who would step out with a creative idea. Beautiful hearted people warn our youth in various subconscious ways with good intentions but it is still founded on doubt and unbelief. When you believe in someone you get into the risk with them and follow them through until you see success. It is easy to (under the guise of spiritual guidance) warn somebody about the pitfalls and failure and then stand back and see what happens. If they never attempt it we say they were never cut out to do it in the first place. If they try and fail we say I told you so. If miraculously they succeed we take the credit for our supposed guidance. Either (way) our credibility is protected from other critical people murmuring against our decisions. It's all from a distance, with no risk.
Let me say that I have never recorded this song because I feel it's a little harsh against leaders whom purely by nature become cautious about promoting the young to positions of responsibility. I understand that repeated failures create this carefulness. But has it gone too far? Do we become protective of our reputations rather than go out on a limb by believing in somebody who has great potential but unproven and tested.
The Scriptures in the letter to Timothy states that we ought to be proven, to be released into ministry. This scriptural guidance helps us avoid the failure of hopeful people. Scriptural checks and balances, proving periods, coaching responses, the test of small things and test of the pressure are the tools we use to help us as we take the risk with someone. This biblical guidance is given not to tie us up but to liberate us to believe that young people will eventually prove themselves. We need to have a spirit of faith in the young. We need to release people in all their differences and guide them in truth not negative warnings and subconscious doubt.
Some of us out of duty say we believe in the young but deep down we are expecting their failures. Answer these questions in your heart:-
When somebody has faith in you what does it mean to you? It means that they trust you - they believe in your ability. They see potential, etc.
What is your response to that person's faith in you? You love them. You gain confidence. You don't want to disappoint, so you give your best. You are more productive. You feel energy and boosted.
What ultimately does it do to your psyche? It gives you life. A sense of worth, meaning and the bottom line - hope.
In its many forms, what actions show the opposite of faith in somebody? Non endorsement. Criticism, cynical and sarcastic facial and verbal gestures. The warning trap. Desertion of those who tell you they believe in you out of duty but you find out the truth when the rubber hits the road.
How much faith does God have in you? He died for you.