We’re in a series right now called, “The Purpose of Service.” Next week at Renew we’re trying something new. You’re not gonna come to the church for Renew (read that sentence again and let it sink in). And to make this even more crazy, you won’t have your Renew leaders to take you anywhere either. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, basically. Watch this so you can see what will happen if you show up to the church next week:
Now, I’m a little afraid to do this offsite-service-night-on-your-own thing because I have a feeling that some of you are just not gonna do anything then. You’ll just sit at home and do whatever else it is you do with your free time.
BUT here’s why I think we should try it.
A few weeks ago at Renew we talked about the church being something more than just this little Youth Room; that church is about being connected to your whole life. And that if you don’t get connected to the church before you graduate high school, statistics show that you’ll most likely walk away from the church. So what we do is important.
One area I’m feeling convicted in: getting you plugged into the church on Sunday mornings. The past two months a few of you served on Sunday morning by reading Scripture/speaking/praying. That’s awesome, but I’m not sure we’ve done enough to give MORE of you an opportunity to connect.
With that said, maybe the most difficult thing for the church today is figuring how to help youth, who are CRAZY busy, and while at the same time being crazy busy, have made the church a very low priority. You might still see the church as important, but sports, theater, good grades, chores, family time and hanging with friends are ALSO very important. And often, the church doesn’t always come to the top of the list when choosing where to give your time.
So what do we do?
I think we need to provide opportunities for you to connect outside of the Youth Room. This room, as cool as it is or isn’t, won’t keep you connected to the church after you graduate. We need to take risks to get you plugged in to what it means to be a part of the church, even though some of you won’t participate in that (again, you’ll just sit at home). I think we need to provide opportunities for you to go serve, in addition to you coming here.
Which brings us back to the plan for next week. Go serve. Don’t come here. If you do this, I’m betting my money that MORE of you will get what it means to be a part of the church, because you will have taken some initiative on your own to BE a part of the church by serving the community (which is one of the purposes of the church). This, I think, is how we can help more of you connect, like I was talking about earlier.
So we need to do this. We could sit around and TALK about what it means the church, and we will still do that (ie read the bible) or we can go BE the church (ie serve). Studies show that your generation isn’t interested in talking about the bible (that’s why churches are declining in attendance). Some of you are, but you know what most of your generation IS interested in? Serving.
Let’s look at this from a biblical perspective.
1 Peter speaks to the church, about how to be the church. It talks about growing in your faith and becoming a “spiritual house” (2:5). Then it goes on to give instructions for how to do this. There’s a lot of tough stuff that we all struggle with:
- Abstain from sinful desires
- Submit to authority
- Respect everyone
- Don’t repay evil for evil, etc
And then it says in Ch 4,
“Above all…” [Like, this is the most important thing] “…love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
All those things we struggle with in the first few chapters are important, but here it says by loving and serving each other, God is praised. Sure we can praise him in church, in reading the bible and all the other Sunday school answer stuff, but here we see that above all else, serving others is how we praise God.
Think about what this means: if you serve with friends who don’t even know God, who don’t know Jesus, what are they doing without even knowing it? They are praising God. That’s the purpose of service. That’s why it’s so important. That’s why we need to get this generation serving even though they aren’t interested in reading the bible. That’s why we need to get out of this room and serve. That’s how we’ll get people connected to the church (we’ll look more into how this happens in part 2 in Nov).
So go serve. Come up with a plan for what you can do, get a few friends, talk to your parents and make it happen.