There is a simple, yet very powerful principle found in the Word of God and made evident throughout nature that we seem to either have forgotten or believed to not be relevant to our daily spiritual lives. We apply it to sports and business and we see successful people use it all the time. The world does not deny it, though they may word it a little differently. We have already touched on it by asking the question "Why?" The simple answer - we reap what we sow. The response to our survey regarding the number of services attended each week showed that the vast majority of our young people are in church for nearly all the services. It would seem then, that this principle has failed. If we are raising our children in church, and they are not remaining when they have "come to fruition", then the sowing and reaping principle is defunct. If that is the case, then what is the point? There would seem to be no reason to continue this discussion. Before we give up so quickly, however, let's stop and examine exactly what we have been sowing. On the surface, it would seem that we have done all we could do. There are so many avenues that we have gone down to try and help our youth. Note the following: youth groups, youth activities, youth camps, youth conferences, youth competitions, Christian schools are all out there in abundance and are all well and good, but they do not fill the void left when we ignore our Biblical responsibility. What responsibility is that?
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
In other words, it begins in the home, not the church. The church will be no stronger than the homes that make it up, not the other way around. For several decades now, we have poured many resources into reaching the youth of our churches, and by doing so, we have placed the cart before the horse. Am I against all these things? No, but I am against promoting the idea that church is only fun and exciting when you're young and then when you grow up, you grow out of church. Oh, you may still go, but it's more in the role as an observer of the young and not as an active participant. As far as my limited knowledge and understanding can gather, it was the adults who led the way in the early New Testament church in being excited and enthusiastic and on fire, not the youth. Can the youth be excited? Can they be on fire? Yes, they can and should, but it sure is hard to be on fire when those that should be your example are as cold as ice.
What are we reaping, or rather, what have we reaped? To close, here is a quote by Wilbur M. Smith, a preacher from days gone by.
"The reason so many of our young men today are not embracing the Christian faith, have no fellowship with God, and know nothing of redemption in Jesus Christ, is not because they are so well-informed about the facts of the Christian faith, and find them impossible of acceptance, but because they are so ill-informed, or misinformed."
We can outgrow camps, and activities, etc., but we cannot outgrow the truth of God's Word. What are we reaping? Only that which we have sowed.
C. Lee Carr