I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. – 1 John 2:13-14. The Apostle John is writing particularly to young men who are active, diligent, industrious and always abounding in the work of the Lord. Those whom he addresses are strong, walking by faith and receiving the grace that is in Christ. He recognized the importance of a new vibrant generation to continue to work of the gospel.
John is now elderly and soon his life and ministry will end. This is why he writes a personal letter to young men and children in the Lord. While Paul was more concerned with doctrine, John was more concerned with relationships and in particular close fellowship with the Lord. The early church, of which John was a vital part, needed a new generation of leaders and this is why in his first epistle he addresses young men. He knew the future of the church was dependent upon the next generation.
The excitement of the new church in Jerusalem and its outreach beyond the Mediterranean region was amazing but a new generation was needed to solidify, strengthen and promote the church into the future. John is the last of the Apostles and soon he will be ushered in to heaven. John wanted to pour his life into some young men that would preside over the ministry for years to come.
Youth is always a necessary element of church planting. As churches mature they must continue to work with their young people. Youth are an important aspect of a church’s health. Without young people a church grows old and eventually dies. Every effort should be made to reach young people and train them to serve the Lord so as to preserve the posterity of the church. Reaching young men and children must be a priority of church planting.
A preacher friend once said to me, “you get what you go after.” We should always go after youth. There are several reasons for targeting young people. It is among the youth where most decisions for salvation occur. It is youth that has the highest level of energy. It is youth that have their whole lives in front of them. Youth can be challenged and usually are more easily motivated to service than older adults. Therefore every church must have an emphasis on reaching and training young people.
Pastors must have a plan to encourage and train young men and women. Every preacher should always keep the youth in mind as he prepares his sermons. Involving young people in the various ministries is a must. The bus ministry, the music ministry, the nursing home ministry and special many special activities should involve the youth. Senior citizens should not be ignored and mature believers should not be taken for granted. However to care for these and neglect the youth is a serious mistake that will have long term repercussions.
Young men need to be challenged and given opportunities to serve. Even young churches can train young men and women to serve the Lord. The youth of our churches are our most important commodity to maintain the vitality of our future.