Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
I have had the privilege of taking two mission trips to Panama with high school students and youth leaders from our church. On those trips we shared the Gospel to elementary, junior high, and high school students. We spent afternoons with orphans, shared Christ at hospitals, ministered in local churches, and even got our hands dirty with some manual labor. Along with the ministry and work, there were always nightly meetings for worship and prayer.
On both trips I was extremely impressed with our teenagers. Many of them had their spiritual act together much earlier than I did. I was impressed that these students were willing to take the time out of their summer to share the message of Christ in another culture and amazed by the depth of commitment that many of the students possessed. They truly exemplified what it means to follow hard after God.
Howard Hendricks, one of my seminary professors used to say, "We train teenagers to fly multimillion dollar jets, but we won't let them take up offering in the church!" We can do better than that, can't we? We must never look down on our youth. They are tomorrow's church. Preparation for the future always begins today. Take the time to get to know some of the teens in your church. But I have to warn you: When it comes to following hard after Christ, some of you may need to run to catch up to their pace.
Father, protect our youth and keep them following hard after You. For those straying, bring them back to the fold. For those questioning, turn their natural queries into rock-solid belief. For those living a lukewarm faith, light a fire in their hearts. In Christ's name. Amen.