The Evangelical Herald
A MESSAGE TO CHURCH KIDS
Among the many identifiable groups that children and youth are labeled with, there is the little minority group called "church kids". The definition to this term is: children who have grown up in the environment of a religious organization. Their world started from cradle role, then went on to primaries, to juniors, to youth and finally to young adults. It is a world of Bible story telling, Bible teaching, sermons and more sermons.
Pressures to be "Good"
In today's world of individualism, secularism, and moral degeneration, these kids have grown up with an inner battle that other kids have not known of. The message that they have received from the church by in large is "You are in a world where there is bad and good -- walk in the good road and your life will be blessed". Since these kids are church kids, good is pretty much understood to be the behavior that their parents desire. The pressure to be good by their parents and the church can take a toll on some kids. Many a teenager has suffered the agony of going to Sunday School and church week after week against his/her will -- when they would rather be watching a football game, or playing soccer, or going to the beach.
Since church leaders believe that the future of the church lies on its children and youth, churches put a lot of effort and time in keeping the children during their growing up years in the straight and narrow path. The goal is to keep them in church (i.e. that they keep attending Sunday morning worship). Adult workers in Sunday School, children church, children's ministries, youth groups, children and youth camps all work, minister, and pray that the church kid come to God and stay in the "good" path.
Forget About Being "Good"
Church youth-- let me tell you -- Forget about being good! The message you have received is fine for children that can not reason for themselves, but the Bible tells us that we should put away childish things. Your motivation for being a Christian is not "to be good". Lets start looking at the Christian message from an adult point of view. Lets start thinking for ourselves, lets ask heavy and eternal questions, lets seek answers for ourselves, lets make our Christianity our own because we hungered for it and experienced it as the truth that it is.
The Hard Questions
Grown up kids need not to be pampered. Christianity is not about being good. You are trapped in a state of existence that you had no choice. Your conscience being is in a time line that is leading in only one direction: death -- eternal destruction. It's leading to the true reality of an existence of timeless eternity -- no beginning and no ending. All your petty problems and circumstances disappear in light of living in the knowledge that our universe is limitless and timeless. If your mind can reason and conceive such thoughts, would you dare ask: "Who am I?", "Why was the earth created?", "What is my purpose on earth?", "Do I have a chance of living forever?", "What is death like?", "What does God require of me?". These are questions that a person who has left childish things behind would ask. But what is more, for a person that can reason, these are questions that demand answers.
The true Creator of all things -- the God of the Bible -- the one you have been hearing about all your years has revealed to us the answers. These answers do not come only by the knowledge of the Bible. No, these answers come only to those who hunger for them, those who admit to their insignificance in the big picture, those who let God perform a transformation work of existence into a spiritual being.
So you see why we say Christianity is not about being good, it's much more. It answers the big questions, it gives us purpose and it transforms us into spiritual beings that hunger to be in harmony with the Creator God, our Father. Being good is a natural result of our desire to honor our Heavenly Father because we now have a relationship with Him.
Youth of God
True Christian youth no longer want to be catered to, they want to serve. True Christian youth no longer want to bring attention to themselves, they want to proclaim Christ. True Christian youth no longer struggle to be good, they naturally reflect the new person which is Christ in them. They have been born again into loving, serving, proclaiming children of God.
Church youth that are their own persons and have decided to follow Christ become part of the family of God. They become part of the church of God because they have been supernaturally begotten by the Father to become His children. They do not become members as a result of learning Bible stories and texts or because they arrived to a certain age where it is expected of them to become members. As newly created spiritual beings, they are now the true church of tomorrow.
Church kids, you have had a great advantage over non-church kids in being loved and taught Christian principles in preparation and hope of your calling by our Heavenly Father. You were loved by Christian parents and church brethren. But now that you are no longer children, it is up to you what you are going to do with that preparation -- reject it, keep struggling as a child to be "good", or receive the power of a transformed life by means of the new birth. If you do receive the gift of life in Christ, it is natural that a new creation wants to grow in wisdom and to the image of Christ. It is natural that a new creation finds joy in being obedient (good) to Christ. It is natural that a new creation rejoices in being part of the body of Christ in service.
Church kids that have been born into the family of God, it was not because you were "good" that God chose you -- it was all because of His grace -- you could have never been good enough to become a child of God. You, like all of mankind, had and will come short of the glory of God. It is only through the "goodness" of Christ that we became and are children of God. Christ died for the "good kid" and the "bad kid" alike. He has chosen you to be a vehicle of His grace. You have been freed from the pressures of being "good" -- you are now free to bear the natural fruits of righteousness and truth. May you rejoice in this freedom of true worship and service.