The Biblical prescription in this regard is still the best option: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). The Church must be able to admit that it had not fulfilled the requirements of this Scripture in sufficient measure, and that that was why the youth broke loose. It must admit guilt now while it may. Indeed, this admission of guilt and subsequent repentance will spur it to now invest added effort, more resilience and dedication. This verse may appear simple, but it remains a time-tested counsel. But how one handles it would make or mar the younger section of one’s congregation. Youths are easily distracted. And that is why they love to get lost in large congregations, very far from the watchful eyes of their instructors. And while swallowed up there, they while away their time with sundry fantasies while waiting eagerly for the Grace to be said so they could dash off. Only a marginal number manage to pick a few things from what the preacher may have spent more than an hour saying.
But can the Church afford to grant them this luxury? The answer is obvious, and it is NO. Every Church should endeavour to isolate its youths in small groups and carefully dish out this life-saving message we have received to them, where they would not be allowed the luxury of several distractions. Also, they would be compelled by the watchful eyes of the preacher who is near enough to them to listen. The teachers must receive adequate, continuous training for more efficient service. If the world spends millions to trap our youths, we should not scruple to spend billions to rescue and retain them! Indeed, what makes one a great pastor is not only when one is wasting all ones life on adults. Pastors ought to find time more frequently to teach the youth by themselves, in small groups and at close quarters. They should show that they love them by preaching to them and praying for them more often.
The advantage is that their presence will dignify the youth section and equally make the youths love to be there often. Any pastor that has not yet placed the youths in his Church at par with the adult in priority needs to re-examine his calling. Ditto for the children and even todlers. We direly need to be catching them young. And those who have defaulted in organizing several special programmes throughout each year for their youths and children have great need of repentance for the monumental neglect.
Let’s rescue our youths now and prepare them to keep aflame the fire we have today in our congregations through the succeeding generations. We are tired of having Edwin Sangsters emerging every half a century to issue poor score-sheets about Churches. It can be prevented; or at least, minimized.
Indeed, the youth has already broken loose and the Church is clearly unable to explain what occupied it when this happened. But the Church must try and explain to itself why this had happened in order to put in place viable recovery operation.
The youth is the most targeted being. We are contesting for them with many determined forces. How equipped are we ourselves? The youth is the main target of immoral adverts on television and newspapers. We have opened a very large “door” into our living rooms called television, and through this door, the world is pouring in countless poisoned dainties to our children. Even the so-called Christian films that fill everywhere now are the most insidious. Are we able to safeguard them from being taken captives? Or, are they not captives already? On the streets, horrible models are beckoning on them. These models could be their classmates, neighbours and colleagues.
Every day, they are pouring out their poison. Is your child already a captive? Pastor, are the youths in your Church already captives? Have they broken loose? Where were you when it happened? All hopes would not be lost if we can wake up and commence TODAY. Let’s be pouring in our own recovery message too, forcing it down their throats, neutralizing in the process the poison of the enemy. We can protect them, yes, we can, only if we start today. Let’s not wait to become tongue-tied when the question is eventually asked: Where Was The Church When The Youth Broke Loose?