Catching them young is a matter of necessity and responsibility. In fact, Jesus was explicit in His instruction in the Great Commission, Matt. 28:16-20, that the gospel should be preached to all, both young and old.
We are living in a century where in spite of the enormous benefit social media and the available technology provides, youths are in the same vein, easy prey to vices and traps of the devil. Social media, handy and easily available on phones, creates a quick distraction. Also, since it is the major, and perhaps, the only space that gives independence and free speech to them, the social media space exposes youths to boundless exploration.
It is therefore important to engage the youths early in the works of the Kingdom. However, to make sure that this young generation of believers are interested and soaked in not only living a holy life but expanding the kingdom of God and depopulating the path to hell, the older generation must be committed to bequeath to them a legacy of proactive evangelism and a life modeling Christ-like.
To this end, parents and elders in the church are expected to act proactively in this engagement by creating in the junior church, evangelism groups. As early as, and as young as they may be, children should be challenged to preach and talk about Jesus Christ to their friends at school. Young evangelism groups should be encouraged to periodically go out to preach the love of Christ to their contemporaries.
To activate youth engagements, churches and denominations in Nigeria acknowledged that universities and other tertiary institutions are fertile grounds to cultivate young souls for the kingdom. The Redeemed Christian Church of God to this end established the Redeemed Christian Fellowship in order to propagate the biblical teaching of faith, love and holiness through which spreading of the gospel would be promoted. The fellowship also geared towards promoting the work of God on the campuses all thought the country by raising true and devoted men and women who are filled with the Spirit of God.
While the older generation of Christians had their challenges during their youthful days, the current generation of youths are faced with challenges and temptations that are closely knitted with the internet, fame, the urge and crave to make money, and most importantly the hallucinating impression that success is measured by level of materialism and thus the mad rush to be up to date abreast, and acquire latest technology gadgets, wear the latest designer cloths, buy luxury cars and live in palatial apartments. The internet dangles these expectations and most youths fall for it.
The Christian youths must therefore be involved in evangelism in order to deflate, resist persecution and divert the lusty eyes of other youths from materialism that is only a mirage, to the glorious kingdom of God that promises life even after death.
For them to be involved, the older generation must invest in teaching, mentoring them, and monitoring their growth in relationship with God. A deep understanding must be established between the youth and the older generation. The older generation must see today’s world from the eyes of the youth. They must understand the use of technology, social media and help directed to encourage the youths to use such tools and platforms for the propagation of the gospel.
While teaching, the younger generation should be mentored and challenged to take up leadership roles in youth evangelism groups with older supervision. Just as Timothy was mentored and supervised by Apostle Paul, and the former was able to take up the pastoral duties at Ephesus, encouraging today’s Christian youth in evangelism and church/spiritual activities would prepare them for church leadership and administration in the future.
Where the youths are motivated, carried along, encouraged and incorporated into church activities, they are quick to display their God-given talents which when discovered early are navigated towards the Kingdom expansion, and the future of the church is established and guaranteed. Where, however, the voice of the youths is stiffened, choked, and relegated to the backseat, rendered only as observers in the church, the continued survival of the church is threatened while that may likely hamper the growth.