It is easy to think that the teenagers are too ambitious and to conclude that some of them are already delinquent but what we are ignorantly doing when we do not help our teenagers to enjoy church is to cultivate a spirit of rebellion in them when they have to keep coming to church as a result of necessity. Nothing drives anyone towards rebellion faster than being forced to a place where you do not derive maximum satisfaction. For the fanatics it may be wrong to say that the church is supposed to be fun what is the entire essence of the church when the people coming to it do not look forward it in any way?
Many churches are preoccupied building projects and fund raising activities at the detriment of members and unfortunate at the expense of teenagers who still depend absolute on the information being churned out in the society rather than seating down to process information from within through mediation. It has come to a time when pastors and church leaders must recognize the fact that we are not building anything when we use people to build churches and we can be referred to as mega churches when we cannot point to the ‘mega lives’ that we have built. There are schools in the society today who can boast about the great men they have produced for the society and sometimes some of them boast about how many presidents they have produced for the nation and I think it is time for the church to focus primarily on the relevance of its products to the society rather than being to concerned about the relevance of those people to its series of activities within the church setting.
Teenagers are full of energy and are always waiting for something to do or always looking forward to the next engaging activity but too many religious bodies only deem it fit to keep them in the church and organize an annual youth conference to say we thank God for sparing your lives for another one year. For those who do not wait for one year they probably have some meetings where the teenagers or the youth bodies are just gathered and somebody talks over their heads.
For churches to be productive in these times they cannot only begin to think about productivity in line with how many parents are prosperous or look prosperous without looking at the productivity of the teenagers so it is imperative to have a structure that “engages and involves” the teenagers as a way to unlock the potentials inside of them. There are so many teenagers who have heard teachings on holiness and they have become so holy but also so useless to the society. The system of any purpose driven church must accommodate the capacity building for young people through which the church can refine lives not just with words but with proven skills that the teenagers have acquired or learnt.
We have told them too many things that they should not do but we have also left them to keep wondering what is the right thing to be done? They already know they should not smoke, drink, fornicate, lie, kill and so many other things. Unfortunately what should not be done is the focus of a lot of people who see to have been called into the youth ministry. We scare the hell out of them and forget that it is easier to go back to what should not be done when that is the only thing they are looking forward to. Let us remember that when Jesus told people what they should not do he also empowered them to do what they were designed to do. He found disciples and led them to God. He taught them upright living but did not leave them to start looking out for who was going to break the rules. While he was teaching them upright leaving he focused more on the productivity of the disciples and that was why he said stuff, ‘oh ye of little faith.’ What that implies is that there is something they had learnt by watching him or there is something he had taught them which they still could not demonstrate. We have instances where he spoke to the people about the talent which was a parable on productivity. We also have instances where he spoke to the people about the poor in the society which meant the focus of any productive person is not only to be blessed but to also be a blessing to the people around.
Rather than just saying teenagers are this and that we have to begin to create systems for these teenagers and build them after helping them to discover themselves. There so many churches who cannot boast of having helped their teenagers to discover purpose. When we cannot boast of having helped these teenagers to discover purpose then we should know that anything is meaningful to a purposeless person. It is when a man has become purposeful that it becomes more meaningful to begin to set priorities right.
For too long the church has built structures rather than people. Consequently the society has produced more powerful individuals than the church has produced even though we have people who are so anointed but cannot command national attention. This is not surprising to an extent because even some church members have relegated their pastors’ relevance to church activities or spiritual issues. You also may not expect too much because the same pastor that preached powerfully on Sunday is now at the economic mercy of the congregation from Monday to Saturday.
I strongly think that the church is one of the places where you can help teenagers prepare for life spiritually, academically and professionally and any church that does not do that is working against what it is preaching. When we have people who are so spiritual and are not economically empowered they will get to a level where they question the capacity of the ever invisible God and resort to ‘self-help’ which consequently is ‘self-destruction.’ The church has the great opportunity to make not just the teenagers but every other person understand that the rate of unemployment is not as high as the rate of unemployable people. There is unemployment but the bigger problem is there are unemployable people and the church to a great extent is indulging some of these people. You have kept someone since he or she was a teenager without questioning his or her productivity and now they have gotten to levels where their productive abilities should yield for them and you are praying for them to receive miracle jobs.
If I was a church pastor and you came to me about receiving a miracle job I would first ask you about what skills you have acquired before expecting a miracle job.
Let’s create systems that
1.) Challenge the mediocrity which the teenagers have grown to observe and are likely to pick easily.
2.) Help the young ones and every other person think outside the box and not always looking for help when they can unlock what they have and help others.
3.) Help people discover who they are and always know what they carry which has been lying dormant in them.
4.) Teach people to be upright but at the same time productive and seemingly indispensable in the society.
5.) Make people feel so grateful to the church for its impact on them and consequently look forward to church every other day.
Until we do this we are going to be complicating problems that we are supposed to be fixing when we know that it is easier for teenagers to rebel than to listen. While praying for our teenagers let’s also do something about their perspective to life!