“Is the risk worth the gain?”
I must admit, when this question was first posed to me four months ago, at first the answer was obvious, yes. But then, I was confused. Just what does that mean, exactly? I have replayed the scene over and over in my head, just as I have many encounters with them – trying to make sense of it all, wanting to see what I missed. Wanting to know how I missed it all this time.
Young people need to be engaged. They need constant engagement and support. The world is throwing so much negativity at them, that they need a place where they are connected, supported, encouraged – with other young people, who are just like them. Where they learn to handle what the world throws their way – the Lord’s way – the way the Christ instructs. Where they learn to love themselves, so they can love others as themselves as Christ instructs. A place where they can invite their friends. A Youth Group.
“Childhood friendship is the most beautiful memory that can’t ever be replaced.” ~Anonymous
I couldn’t wait to turn 12, so I could join my church’s Youth Group. It wasn’t just the fun activities, the crazy Youth Pastor… It was the teachings, the sense of belonging, the relationships that were formed that I have even until this day! It was the all night lock-ins, where we prayed, and fell asleep on top of each other. It was going to camp, crying with each other, hurting with each other, falling in love with Jesus together, praying for that friend who was flirting with the world – trying to keep her in the way. It was sleepovers, mall trips, Youth Conventions, and amusement parks. It was finding our significant others, being in each other’s weddings, being godparents to each others children… It was our Youth Group. Now as adults, finding old pictures, we reminisce. We should have a reunion! Someone suggests, remembering the “good ole days.” Some of us are no longer around. We are not all still following after Him, but many of us are. The Youth Group kept us in those crucial years. Friday nights, instead of partying, we couldn’t wait to go to Youth Service. Saturday morning, knocking doors or passing out water before an activity (maybe an activity). Whether we had an activity or not, it didn’t matter! We were on fire for the Lord and just wanted to be together – UNITY. Yeah, this is the Youth Group I remember.
“Is the RISK worth the GAIN?”
What risk? I recall asking. Teenage hormones, parents, everyone wanting to put in their two cents.
I heard myself say, “The risk in my eyes, was losing our children to this dark and dreary world.” Would you really be willing to risk the salvation of your children for fear of hormones, parents, and two cents? Why send kids to school – when hormones there are raging, not to mention opportunity. Class sizes are at least 24 students to every 1 teacher. Everyone has an opinion, and many of their beliefs do not match those who love Christ – if your child is in public school. Please, correct me if I am wrong…
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will never depart.” Proverbs 22:6 KJV
We, as the church, and parents, cannot expect to wait until our children are adults to reach them. If we wait until they are adults – we have already lost them. The risk of losing our children is simply not an option – if you ask me.
We have an obligation to our children. We must teach them truth. We must provide them every opportunity to blossom and flourish in their faith and relationships with God. I was afforded this as a child, the Bible instructs us to do this, and it is essential, especially today. So, is the risk worth the gain? I will stick with my original answer and say, ABSOLUTELY! I look at my children, where we are since we have transitioned… They are blossoming. They are engaged. It makes my heart swell to see them so happy! We have found our Youth Group.