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Pastor's Corner: Are youth to be despised?


An outlandish question perhaps. Why even ask such a thing? The answer is obviously “No.” Nevertheless, I’m asking it. And the reason that I am asking it is that there are many church summer camps that our youth are attending. In that environment where five to six days are dedicated to worshipping and hearing from God, our youth are hearing from God. When they come home from these camps, how do we respond to what God is doing in their lives?

The Apostle Paul writes to a young pastor, Timothy, these words found in the Bible, the book of 1 Timothy, verse 12 — “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Timothy and Paul had a special relationship. Paul called Timothy his “son in the faith.” Here we see in black and white in the Bible that the answer to the question “Are youth to be despised?” is definitely a resounding “No.”

So, if youth are not to be despised, how do we handle their exuberance, their ideas, and their dreams — moving forward? I submit to you this challenge: Let us not despise the youth by not squashing the movement of God in their hearts and minds. Instead let us help them to fulfill what God has laid upon their hearts and implanted in their minds.

I think of my life when I was 16 years old. I felt strongly that I had a call of God upon my life for ministry. I told my pastor — for the sake of this writing, we will call him Pastor David. He immediately said, “That’s great! How soon can we have you preach to the congregation?” I swallowed hard, but responded, “Whenever you would like.” I submitted my sermon outline to him beforehand — and the Sunday night service came when it was time for me to preach my first sermon ever. I had five single-spaced pages of notes — and I was done preaching in about seven minutes. I handed the service back to Pastor David. He asked the congregation how many of them had been challenged by the message that I had shared. Almost everyone raised their hands. So, he asked them to come to the front altar area and spend some time praying about what God was speaking to them through my message. Everyone came forward. I couldn’t believe it! Not long afterwards, Pastor David had me teaching a Sunday School class of fifth- and sixth-grade girls. Those girls never missed a class. My mother tells me that it was because I was a high school sophomore teaching fifth- and sixth-grade girls … Looking back, she was probably right. Not long after that, Pastor David said that I could be the church’s youth pastor. As I view that history now, I recognize that Pastor David actually took some great risks in allowing me, a 16-year-old high school student, to preach, to teach, and to pastor teenagers. What was Pastor David doing? He was not despising my youth.

I encourage everyone interacting with youth with dreams, visions, ideas — be like Pastor David was with me. Give them a chance to flourish and grow. Don’t be afraid to help them along. And don’t squash them when they make mistakes.

Are youth to be despised? Absolutely not. Instead, they are to be encouraged.


The Rev. Edroy “Curt” Curtis is lead pastor of Havre Assembly of God Church and President of Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association.


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