Washington (BWA)--As Baptist youth around the globe observe Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer on June 12, it provides us an opportunity to reflect on the value youth bring to the world in general and to the church in particular.
Young people are seeking to belong. They endeavor to make valuable contribution to the global family. The challenge has always been to find their place. On the one hand, they offer hope and serve as a sign that the church will continue to exist. On the other, they are oftentimes seen as a threat to existing structures and are constantly reminded that "they are the church of tomorrow." It is therefore not surprising that our young people are finding it difficult if not impossible to feel at home in many churches. They are expected to be counted as part of a community that relegates them to the preverbal "back of the bus."
Baptist World Alliance (BWA) ministry to those under 35 focuses on the importance of this underutilized yet highly effective and competent segment of society. Since the 1930s, the leadership of the BWA has created space to ensure that the voice of youth is heard. We are encouraged to embrace and harness the gifts and potential of youth with the aim of involving them in the total life of church and society. These young people, if given the space, will help take us into the future.
In the age of Twitter and Facebook, and with the rapid advancement in modern technology, the more mature needs to rethink how we continue to keep young people at a distance. Unlike years gone by, it is the older generation that is in danger of being left behind.
As we celebrate another Baptist Youth World Day of Prayer, let us make a commitment to bring our youth into the fold as true partners for the good of the kingdom. The focus of this year's celebration is "Dive Deeper in Prayer." The BWA encourages each of us to reach out and help the youth understand that the future is indeed here, that their time has come to participate and contribute to the growth of the church and society.