Baton Rouge Berean Youth Celebrate Black History
Baton Rouge, La.» The flyer with the message “Learn, Laugh and Live, a Celebration of African-American Lives” said it all. It was augmented by the invitations to various other churches and the announcement that had a two-week run in the local paper. The “it” was Berean’s recent youth day commemorating a month of Black history awareness. According to T. Ron Weegar, pastor, “The third Sabbath in every other month will be devoted to a Youth and Young Adult program. Our young people are just that important.” Thus began Berean’s year of youth involvement. Our newly-elected youth team, Eric and Patrice Hall, assisted by Marque and Roquel McCarter, was at the helm. The Halls tapped Leotis Richardson, III, a dentist from Conway, Arkansas. He was no stranger to the Halls or to Weegar, who, in 2002, had pastored the Richardsons in Harriman, Tennessee.
Our youth, many in African-American dress, demonstrated their God-inspired leadership abilities with the 11:00 a.m. service. From the poster at the church’s entrance depicting various historical Black history contributors and their contributions, to the display strategically placed on a table in front of the platform with the red, black, and green African-American flag joining the American flag and the Pathfinder one on the platform, there was no ignoring the Black history presence.
Richardson set the tenor for his message by stating that he wasn’t sure of what he had agreed to, “preaching in Weegar’s pulpit.” He continued by saying he had gone to his wife for comfort but discovered that she was “just as scared as I was,” eliciting laughter from the audience. He then thanked the young people for the prayers and music which had helped establish the tone for his sermon. “My message is clear. God is calling young people to be an army of youth presenting the last day gospel to all; as adults, we have a mission to empower our youth to take that message.” He followed with an analogy between a spider’s speed in encasing a moth in its web until the victim is no longer recognizable and Satan’s holding our youth so spellbound that they don’t recognize they’re in his grip. “Before we realize it, not only do we not recognize our youth, but they don’t recognize themselves.” Richardson’s fascination with the spider would appear later in his message when he would recount a bee’s encounter with the insect and the bee’s disastrous end. “Jesus is still calling to our youth, ‘Come to me’ as evident in Mark 10:13-16 when he rebuked the disciples and bade them to allow the children to come to him.” Richardson reminded the adults not to allow our unkind characters or painting a “picture of doom and gloom” to prevent our youth from coming to Christ.
“Allow youth to come to Jesus as they are. Make provisions for them. Aren’t they worth our investment in evangelism?” was his admonition to us. He then reminded us of the investment the world is willing to make for our youth. “The youth are the object of Satan’s affections,” he cautioned. “Parents, your children are a gift from God, but that gift demands mutual respect.” His parting words to the youth included, “God calls you to be a beacon on a hill, His messenger in this last day. Talk to God and don’t forget Him in whatever you do.”
Weegar then mounted the platform, delighted with Richardson’s message as he added his own admonition to the congregation, “‘Invest in our youth’ is the message we should take away,” he said.
The evening program once again saw our youth and young adults in action. Music, poetry, biblical knowledge competition, a tribute to some familiar and unfamiliar contributors to the Black history movement coupled with special “thanks” not only to the Richardsons, but also to other family and friends from near and far brought a fitting conclusion to a day well spent. Berean applauds the leadership of the Halls for this program as they passed the mantle of our Adventist Youth ministry to the McCarters.