Back in the eighties there was a popular song written by Englishman Rod Stewart titled “Forever Young.” It began, “May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam. And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home. And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true. And do unto others as you’d have done to you. Be courageous and be brave. And in my heart you’ll always stay forever young.”
As I thought about the overarching theme chosen for this edition of the Record, those words came back to mind. I thought, what a fitting description of how youth and young adults should be viewed not only from our church, but by society as well. Did you notice the word “grow” incorporated in the lyrics? Growing pains was a well-known phrase that often had a negative connotation. When I was growing up, I experienced what many others of my generation experienced, a depreciation of youth and young adults. It was a common thought that if you were young, you weren’t quite up to speed. Sadly, there wasn’t a place at the adults’ table for children and youth. I praise God that we have grown quite a bit as a church in the past 50 years, but we still have a way to go.
The psalmist said it best in Psalm 144:12 (NKJV), “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; That our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style.” Did you catch King David’s subtle reference to the importance of youth as he describes them as “pillars, sculptured in palace style?” If anyone knew and appreciated the beauty of a palace, it was David. The most decorated king in Israel’s history compared youth to the beauty of the inner palace!
Part of the church’s growth and development includes our ability to grow young as we grow old. Entrusting the youth of our church with responsibility, with mission and ministry, must not be seen as a challenge, but rather a privilege. This nation’s military entrusts million-dollar equipment in the hands of youth. Mega-companies readily entrust leadership into the hands of young minds. Why not the Church? Those of us 50-somethings and beyond must grow young at heart so that the youth and young adults of the church are not only seated at the table but also on the front lines of the mission.
By Carlos J. Craig, President