Friday, November 10, 2017

Youth and Membership

On next Saturday, November 18th, Pastor Daniel is teaching a membership class. For the most part, it will be the same as all the classes that have gone before it, however, there will also be one difference. For this membership class we have very intentionally and specifically invited our High School students to join it. This doesn't mean they weren't invited in the past, just that we've blatantly invited them to this class and all our future classes. All this may lead to a few questions about membership in our church and how that relates to our youth and why we have made this shift, or at least, extra emphasize.

I think a few main questions might be similar to, "Why should teens be members when they already act as and feel a part of the church?" or "Why should teens be members when their parents already have membership?"

With those questions in mind I have a few thoughts that might help us process through this…

1) Contrary to what our culture seems to emphasize with a weird hybrid category of "adult-kiddom" known as adolescence where a young person is seen to not be very accountable or responsible and yet is placed in positions where those are necessary, the Bible seems to present us with 2 main categories… that of child and adult. Within this model, Scripture always presents the constant process of growth and striving for adulthood (not for the perks and freedom, but instead for having godly actions and character as an adult) as that which it to be pursued. To see models of this look at Eph 4:13-14, 1 Cor 13:11, Heb 5:12-14, & 1 Cor 3:1-2. 

All that said, there is no unique category for youth/adolescence/teens in the Bible in relation to church involvement. Either you are saved and part of the church or you are not saved and not part of it... There aren't any other options. If you claim to be saved and part of it then that means the next steps are to proclaim that to others (baptism), submit to the leadership in it and commit to it (membership), and begin helping others (serving). That is the Biblical model given for all believers, whether 13, 30, or 130 years old.

2) Somewhat connected to the premise of #1, we need to have a shift in our thinking. Teens are called to take responsibility and serve like everyone else in the church. We strongly believe this and intentionally have started ministries within our youth program to help emphasize this. Our Age 2 Age ministry gives our students a chance to interact with and share life and a relationship with saints in our church who are older than the youth. Our Students Ministering to Students ministry gives them opportunities to care for those in their own peer group. Our service projects allow them to care for other in our church and community. Actions of service like these are a huge part of maturing toward adulthood through the teen years. 

With this in mind, while membership does mean that the church will intentionally give focused care to you both for growth and correction, it is also much more. Membership is not just about what I get, but even more about what I give. Membership is a way doors are opened for a believer to more fully serve others. This applies to older adults as well as our youth.


With commitment and selfless service on the decline over all in our society, what better way is there to help train up the youth of this generation than telling them that God has built and calls them toward more. Our youth are built with hearts, emotions, energy, and strength God has given them to radically invest into His kingdom work. Membership is a very helpful means toward that end. Our youth are longing for connection and community that can't be found online or in secular institutions. Membership brings them into a community that lasts and has an eternal purpose. 

In short Membership is not just for the older adults of our church. It is for our teens, who by God's grace, are striving toward adulthood, using their gifts and abilities to benefit the Kingdom within the context and community of our church.

May the Lord continue to bless and grow our church!

Want to think about this more? Here are a few articles to read through…

2. Overview of Why be a member:

3. Good in depth look at becoming a member:

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