Youth with a Heart for Revival
By Stacie Ruth Stoelting
Do you want your church to grow? Do you want to know what young people desire? If so, read this two-part series by a real young person who craves revival.
Shhh. Can you hear it? It’s a revival. It’s coming. People of all ages can sense it. Yet young people particularly desire it. They desire a change of focus; to center on Jesus, His love, and applying His Word in a fresh, uncompromising way.
That’s right! We young people don’t merely crave for more material stuff. We aren’t only searching for churches that flash fancy graphics on the PowerPoint, build deluxe buildings, or construct coffee shops in order to attract us. Instead, we clamor for churches to stop the compromise and change the focus to that of Jesus, His love, and His Gospel. We want people to be real and live the faith. We want change. We want authenticity.
Guess what? Churches and young people can team up to prepare for revival. Here are three points for churches and three points for fellow young people to consider:
Three Points for Churches
1. Stoke the fire. Don’t water it down. Include Scripture. Don’t toss it out. Young people want a change, but it’s different from a material change: We want authenticity. We want a return to a focus on Jesus, His love, and His Word.
2. Materialism isn’t evangelism. Now, some churches are already on the right track. But many churches are sidetracked –by material things. (Many seem more like the lukewarm churches of which Jesus spoke. Click here to read about it in Revelation 3:15-17.)
As young people, we’re hitting barriers erected by some materialistic churches that don’t understand us. Unfortunately, some older adults cannot relate to our uncompromised passion for Jesus. They look down on us for being young.
3. God is not into ageism. Don’t look down on young people because of our age. There are many older adults who are wise and strong believers. But there are some older adults who balk at anyone under thirty-five. They dismiss young people for being “idealistic.” With a twinge of sing-song in their voices, they say to young people –including me- something like this: “Well, after you’ve been around for a while, you’ll understand why this won’t work… You’ll simmer down.”
But that’s wrong: Our fire for God will continue to bellow. (If you don’t understand this “fire for God,” be sure that you know Him personally.) Keep feeding the fire.
You are never too young or too old to serve Him in some way. God has repeatedly selected people who were young to serve Him. I could list David, Samuel, Ruth, Timothy, Mary (the mother of Jesus), and countless others. (i.e. Jesus started His public ministry at the age of thirty.) And God has used very elderly people to do His work. (Think of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Anna, etc. They were all older when God used them.)
Three Points for Fellow Young People
1. Let’s ignore “the look.”
Hey, fellow young people, you know what I’m talking about. We know “the look” that some older adults give when they patronize us: The slight tilt of the head, almost imperceptible smirk, and rising of the chin give them away. Some people degrade us because we’re young. But God doesn’t.
In fact, God encourages us to serve Him despite the limited number of discouraging adults. Here’s proof: “Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:12, AMP)
2. Respect what God says about respect.
We need to follow what God says about respecting people who are older. And we need to remember that many adults do not look down on us because of our youth. (We don’t want chips on our shoulders.)
After all, many older adults are loving believers who appreciate our passion for Jesus. We must respect, honor, and love all older adults as we’ve been instructed in the Bible. (To discover some of what God says concerning respect and honor of adults and leaders, check out I Timothy 5:1-2, Romans 13:7, Ephesians 5:21, Hebrews 13:17, and Romans 12:10.)
3. Okay, it’s time! Let’s rise up!
Let’s rise up and help change the church to return to a focus on Jesus, His love, and His Word. (For a bit of inspiration, download a great song sung by Dove Award-winner, Pam Thum: “Lazarus Generation.” Even though it’s older –it came out back in 2000- it’s still awesome and applicable. I love it.) Young people can –and should- change the focus of the church back to Jesus!
Some of you might be scratching your heads and thinking, “How do we change the church and help it to focus on Jesus and stop the compromise? How do we set the stage for revival?”
Click back soon. In part two of this article, I’ll include that answer with Five Faith-Filled Steps to Change the Church.
Note from the Author:
Connected! isn’t a typical monthly column. Think of it as an e-mail. Feel free to reply. Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org. After all, I want to be a friend and introduce you to my Best Friend, Jesus Christ. We’ll cover issues relevant to our generation. Most of all, we’ll connect with Christ. If you don’t know how to connect with Him yet, click here.
Stacie Ruth Stoelting and Bright Light Ministry share how to have victory over tragedies and trials. She loves Jesus! And she loves to help people. (She knows what it feels like to “wistfully wish for help.” That memory helps to ignite her passion to help others.) At 23, she already has experience: At 15, Stacie Ruth wrote Still Holding Hands: Bonus Tips for Caregivers & Tips for Helping Families Facing Alzheimer’s, depicting her grandparents’ romance, and victory over Alzheimer’s. Celebrities (i.e. Pat Robertson) endorsed it and/or Bright Light Ministry. At 20, she sang for President Bush. In dramatic programs for all ages, she speaks, acts, sings and entertainingly inspires. Now, she is writing another book ( Whatever Happened to My Faith?). Feel free to invite her to speak and/or sing at your church or school. Visit www.brightlightministry.com.
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