Why don’t we let young people lead more in church?

Fear they will mess it up?  Not enough experience?  Not had theological training? Worry they may say or do something inappropriate? Or could it be that down through history that those with the power whether in politics, communities and church have not wanted to relinquish control.

I was, I think 16 or 17, I attended church, and yet to look at my life outside of church you may have wondered whether I was a Christian, indulging myself in the short term joy of cheap cider and other teenage discoveries.  During this rather confused time the youth group I was part of at church led a Sunday service; I preached.

This unmerited opportunity is probably one of the reasons I do what I do now. However I wonder as I look back at my life, if I had been the one choosing the preacher, would I have chosen me?  Possibly not; I would have been far more discerning!  Would my life be different if I hadn’t preached?  I don’t know, but it was one link in a chain of events that included leading groups at university and Scripture Union beach missions; experiences that certainly moulded this flawed pot.

Youth participation is not new.  Christ took a bunch of 17-30 year olds equipped and empowered them and let them loose.  They got it wrong, misunderstood him, neglected, denied and even betrayed him.  And yet, their actions, fused with the Spirit of God started a revolution of which we are the inheritance.  At Bath YFC we want to see young people flourish and part of that is allowing them to take responsibility, to enjoy success and make mistakes, safe in the knowledge that we will back them. 

Youth participation should be at the heart of our youth work, if it is it will be instrumental in the mission and discipleship of young people amidst the confusion of what seems an ever more disorientated world as they seek to work out a living faith that equips them to faithfully live in the 21st century.