“The Future is Now – Part 1”

I vividly remember the first time I heard the phrase “Youth are the future of the church.” It happened during my Busy Bee Investiture in Esperanza, Cuba. I was five years old and the Cuban Union youth director told us that now we were part of “the future of the Adventist Movement.” I can also recall the last time I heard the phrase was in June in the Bronx while in one of our Atlantic Union churches. I wonder, have you ever heard anyone in your church say, “Our youth are the future of the church?” This phrase is not contemporary, but goes back, even to Bible times.

The Bible story of David and Saul, found in 1 Samuel 17, is a great example. Goliath had been terrorizing King Saul and his army for 40 days and no one had done anything about it. There was no end and perhaps no hope in sight; then young David showed up. His assignment was to bring some food to his older brothers who were mature enough to be part of Saul’s army. When young David saw Goliath and heard the insults he made toward God and God’s people, he decided that something needed to change. What had been happening for 40 days could not continue to happen. It seemed that business as usual had been an option for Saul and his army, but it was not an option for David.

The biblical account in 1 Samuel 17:32,33 (NKJV) says that David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”We can learn some awesome lessons from this Bible story:1. Youth are not easily intimidated by giant challenges. Young people like to do rather difficult things. Super-easy tasks underestimate their abilities and tend to bore them. When youth and young adults are not the cause of the problem, they can be a part of the solution. Don’t take my word for it, just gather the youth and young adults of your church and present them with a big challenge and give them the freedom to solve it. Watch and see what happens.2. Every adult is given the golden opportunity to empower a youth to greatness. I believe this opportunity was King Saul’s “golden moment” to go down in history as one of the greatest mentors ever. Saul could have said, “I am so glad you are young, willing, and ready to do what we have failed to accomplish, but with God’s help, perhaps you can do it.” Yet, when I read this verse, I see someone trying to put the lid on the endless potential of the already anointed king. Saul told David, “Goliath is very experienced, you are too young; maybe in the future.” King Saul will be remembered as the one who told David, “You are too young . . .”

 

To be continued in the October issue.

José Cortés is the director for the Youth Ministries, Pathfinder, and Adventurer departments in the Atlantic Union.

Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter at: https://www.facebook.com/PastorJoseCortesJr, https://www.facebook.com/JoseCortesJr, and https://twitter.com/JoseCortesJr.