I OBSERVE that many of us parents particularly in the church are short changing our children by raising them up for the church and not God.
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We raise them up in fear of the church and people and not God.
I am sure you have seen or heard what I am talking about here.
I have oftentimes heard people in the church training and coaching the young for the church more than for God.
“What will the church say? What will the people say?”
Have you never heard these sentiments in your church or community?
“You cannot do that; the church does not like it? You cannot do that, what will people say?”
They never mention God.
Children subjected to this kind of coaching grow up fearing people and the church more than they do God.
They will do everything to hide from church people, but will be exposed to God.
They will hide their issues in order to look fine in the church or in the eyes of those who demand such correctness.
Outside the eyes of the church or “people” they become anything they want, oblivious of the fact that God is watching them and desires of them better behaviour.
Could this not be one reason why our young Christians are struggling with their Christianity and expression of their faith?
Could this not be the reason why they have become just too religious, proclaiming Christ by day, but walking with the devil at night?
Who should they fear, God or the church people?
I want to believe that most of us are doing the young generation a disservice by over policing them at church and militarising the Christian institution.
Now, I will be in trouble here, but wait and hear my point of view.
In Europe, young people are leaving the church in favour of pubs. One reason is that church people are too judgmental and offensive.
We might not be experiencing this kind of madness in Africa, but if we do not take heed, we might pay a similar price for our attitude towards the young.
Every church congregation should be asking themselves how best to keep young people in the church fearing God and growing in Christ.
I have heard young people complain about this gap between them and the elderly people in church. Apparently, this is the same thing in communities, where elderly people have disdain for today’s young.
They condemn them and judge them.
To the elderly, the youth are immoral and little devils, who have no understanding and respect.
Is this true? Is it not a silent voice we are not willing to hear? Young people are passionate, adventurous, robust and outgoing and with a lot of questions. They seek understanding, which can only come from those before them.
Young people are full of misjudgments, mistakes and these are not deliberate.
It’s the nature of youth. It is part of growing up. If the community and the church does not give them their space to make mistakes as young people, then there is a challenge.
I think instead of condemning them, judging them and cursing them, we need to guide them, encourage them and love them more. Human angels, if there is anything like that, do not start as angels.
They start as humans and then they are disciplined in love and pain until they become the angels we desire.
Let me share with you a few things that I think we need to do as church concerning this great and awesome generation.
Guide the young and do not condemn
In the church, the elderly condemn and judge instead of guiding and disciplining the young. The young are already under pressure of the passions of youth and they do not need more.
When elders begin to add more pressure, the young walk away and rebel.
My take, through experience and understanding, is that the young people need more love in the church.
Allow them to be, before they get into adulthood. They cannot be normal when they are condemned on the streets and condemned in the church.
Where is their place of refuge?
Some families condemn, the world condemns, the church condemn. Then, someone tell me what exactly you want the young to do?
I am not defending outright foolishness and sinful living that some of these young people do, but I am advocating for a space of love and grace in the church of my Father.
Pray for the young
Most congregations are a mixed bag, there are elders, as much as they are young people. But there is a serious gap in fellowship and relationships.
I am of the opinion that elderly women in the church, instead of becoming a pain to young ladies, must pray for them and bless them rather than curse them.
Many elders in the church curse young people. You wonder whether they are at church or not. We are called to love one another and to pray for one another.
If you think I am out of line, please pray for me and not condemn me.
Most elderly people do not teach the young to conform to the likeness of Christ, but try to force them to submit to church traditions most of which have nothing to do with God. We discipline by the word and not our traditions.
If we could turn the zeal to gossip about young people at church into praying for them, I can assure you they will be so transformed to the glory of God. My time is gone, but beloved who are we raising our children for?
Are we doing it for God’s glory or for the name of our congregations or people?
If you are doing it for people and the church, you might lose them.
But if you are doing it for God, we better stop where we are and repent and start afresh.
It’s never too late with God. Pray for the youth do not curse them, bless them, love them and accept them as Christ accepts you with love and grace.
They need that more than anything else.
They need to be understood and guided in love. They will make mistakes, they will disappoint you here and there. Do not over expect.
Youth is youth and changes every hour.
Trust and pray and be there for them.
Before you know it, you are in joy. For more, visit our online bookstore on www.kiltonmoyoinspirations.com
Kilton Moyo is creator of Fruitful Marriages, a renewal and enrichment programme and is pastor, counsellor and author of Marriage Fitness. Call or whatsapp on +263 775 337 207, +263 772 610 103 or firstname.lastname@example.org