This Sunday is Youth Sunday. A special worship service, led by our youth, will take place at 11:00 am in the Sanctuary. Just about everything in this service, from prayers and special music to leading congregation hymns and preaching, will be led by youth of our congregation. I am confident that this will be a wonderful and meaningful time of worship, just as it has been in years past.
But I’ve been asked on more than one occasion, “But Jason, why don’t you preach on Youth Sunday?” Though I have been known to preach before, I prefer to give time and space for our own youth, children who have been nourished in the faith of our congregation, to respond to God’s leading in their hearts to preach, pray, or perform a sacred piece of music. At Calvary, we worship a God who calls out men and women to serve, minister, and preach in a wide variety of situations and places. And this same God, who called Deborah as a judge over the ancient Israelites, also called the prophet Samuel as a young boy. This same God, who gave the Holy Spirit to Peter at Pentecost, called out Mary, a young woman, to birth our Savior Jesus. God uses men and women, boys and girls, the young and the old in God’s own purposes. And how can we allow our youth to boldly respond to God’s calling unto them without giving them the opportunity to respond?
Youth-led worship services also provide the opportunity for our youth to stretch themselves, to do something outside of their comfort zone, and to equip them to participate in a life of faith throughout their lives. Whether leading a call to worship, playing the trumpet, or collecting the offering, every youth has the opportunity to serve and lead in this service. It is important to me that Calvary be a church where youth are stretched and asked to do this. Services where youth prepare and lead worship provide a context and foundation for our youth, who will grow into adults, to participate and contribute in a significant way in the worship of God as adults. Hopefully, when our youth are grown and in churches with their own families, they will remember their experiences of leading worship and answer “Yes” when they are asked to pray, serve, or lead future worship services.
So come this Sunday. Let us be together as a church family. Be led by our youth, who will be our future church leaders, deacons, and maybe even a preacher or two, and let us worship the God who calls every child to repentance and faith.
Jason Matlack, Minister to Youth