Last Friday evening, my family took part in “game night”. What is “game night”? Well, about once a month, some friends of ours invite people to their house for fun, food, and games. They started by inviting their daughter’s friends. They invited their daughter’s friends who meet with them together as the church, and they invited their daughter’s friends from Tae Kwon Do, and they invited their daughter’s friends from homeschool co-op. Then, their daughter’s friends invited other friends. And those friends invited other friends. Each month when the boys and girls (ages from around 8-9 through 17-18) get together, there are always new faces.
So, last Friday, it was time for another game night. Since adults are always invited and welcomed to stay and take part, we decided to hang out with the young people this time. We played outside games until it started raining – egg toss (the egg broke when I tried to catch it, but I think this particular egg must have had a thin shell), basketball, some kind of game where I think the purpose was to get wet – or to get other people wet.
When we went inside, we played other games. We played mafia (a new game for me, but I ended up being in the mafia… oh yeah), and signs, and a few other games. At one point, my friend called all the boys and girls and adults together to talk to them for a few minutes and to ask for prayer requests.
As I saw all the young people sitting around their living room, I realized something. Some of these boys and girls are followers of Jesus Christ… they are Christians. This means that these boys and girls are my brothers and sisters in Christ. They are part of the church. They are not half-brothers and half-sisters… they are not sub-members of the church. They are as much a part of the church as I am. (Yes, organizationally, these boys and girls and adults are part of many different church organizations. But, relationally, we are all part of the same church.)
This is very important for me, for other adults, and for the boys and girls to realize. As children of God, the boys and girls have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and they have been gifted by God to serve others and to build up the church. In fact, if we agree with Paul and if it is necessary for the whole church to work together in order for the church to grow (Eph 4:16),Â then it is necessary for these boys and girls to function as God has gifted them in order for the church to grow.
Every believer is indispensable for the growth of the church. Every believer. This includes young believers.
There are some very mature believers that God has brought into my life. I need these people. I need them to be part of my life. But, in the same way and not a less important way, I need the young brothers and sisters to be part of my life as well. The church needs them. Why? Because they are children of God given to the church by God. It is only in the eyes and minds of humans that these young people seem less important or less significant.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the church (in general) recognizes the importance of these young people. Similarly, because of the way they’ve been taught and the way they tend to be separated and set aside, I don’t think these young people recognize their importance to the growth and health of the church.
I’ve decided to make sure that I let these young people – and others that God brings into my life – know that I need them as much as I need other brothers and sisters of Christ. Then, of course, I plan to listen to them and learn from them to see how God may use them to help me and the church.