A church that neglects its youth is a dying church. But if a church is to be relevant for young people it must keep on its toes. It must change, in some measure at least, as the culture changes; it must be fresh and flexible in its presentation of the gospel; it must allow room for young blood to come into positions of responsibility, leadership and ministry; it must rejoice when young people not only take over some of the positions held by older members but also do the jobs more effectively; it must release it’s finest leaders to give maximum time and attention to the young; it must be understanding when faced with immature zeal, misguided energy, or damage to church property; it must at all costs ‘hold unfailing love’ towards young people so that they know that they are really wanted within God’s family. A church that is unwilling to do this is digging its own grave.

Further, the ministers and leaders of a church must learn to listen. What are the questions being asked by the young today? What problems do they find with the church? What do they feel is irrelevant? What are the issues in society and in the world that really concern them? … And who, within the family of the church, have been given by God the gifts to relate to them at some depth? Such members ought to receive every possible encouragement to give themselves wholeheartedly to the task of building tomorrow’s church.

David Watson (writing in 1976)

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