It goes something like this, "our youth are the church of tomorrow".
I don't buy it. Not for a minute.
Oh I know what they mean ... that our youth will one day be the people who run the church. That they'll be the one's making things happen. (The idea that any human would do that is a little frightening to me - but I trust you know what I mean.)
Me, I firmly believe that the youth are actually the church of today. The reasons I believe this are many.
For one thing, churches with no youth, or even very very few youth, ususally die. Not just a physical death when the older folks pass on, but a real spiritual death. Who wants to go to a church with no young people? Maybe some old geezer who wants to be left alone in peace but frankly, if someone feels that way I don't want to go to their church.
Another thing about youth is that they still believe that they can change their world. And they can. Some of us grown-ups have grown weary from our daily obligations or cincial from our attempts at change that failed that we no longer even hope for something better. We are just satisfied to move along and accept that things are just the way they are.
But youth are not like that. They have hope, enthusiam, and oh yes, the energy to make a difference in their world.
They also possess more power and influence than we realize. Maybe even more than they realize. If they decided to do something awesome, they could.
I've also noticed that youth have an amazing ability to be honest. In fact, they seem to prefer honesty to pretending to be something you're not. I like that. I think it's a spiritual necessity to be honest. As we get older we something find out that being honest got us hurt and so we hold back in fear. Youth aren't like that yet. It's my prayer and hope that they will retain that honesty and not "grow up" into pious people who have to pursuade others that they are spiritual. I hope they never learn to lie about who they are because I like who they are even if they aren't perfect and don't always get it right. None of us do.
We have an awesome bunch of youth at our church. They may well be my favorite thing about our church. Check them out at the Omega Youth web site. They are perfect kids. But I respect them as much as anybody I know. Some of them have been through a lot of bad things. More bad things than I've experienced in all of my 40-some years. And I know for a fact I would not have handled it nearly as well as they have.