I Still Believe
[ Extracted and edited from D2Y2 Magazine – May/June 2002 ]
In the last few weeks, at least two different well meaning but ignorant friends have asked me when I was going to give up the youth ministry. Basically, when was I going to grow up and get serious?
Well meaning, I say, because they know how tough and unrewarding (financially speaking) the work among youths can be. Most people think it is a plaything. A babysitting ministry that is temporary in nature. Even those who were once champions in the cause of winning the youths have turned towards other more ‘important and visibly rewarding’ adult ministries.
Ignorant, I say, because if this is a business concern, most prudent businessmen bank their resources into youth. That is what the Church should be doing and although some Christian leaders are beginning to wake up to the call, the process is still much too slow. Other organisations outside the Church, from McDonald’s to Nike, ESPN to MTV, have been and are still profiting from their billion dollar investments that have not only influenced the youth culture worldwide, but in many instances dictated its course.
I believe that in every young person is a God-sized dream tagged with a God-designed destiny to not only influence the world, but also to dictate its course. The problem is that most young people do not understand God’s design for their lives and thereby totally miss the mark, falling short or rather ending up short-changing themselves of what God really intended for them.
My mission has been to discover and develop my life upon the very Divine Blueprint, never settling for anything less than God’s best while helping others do the same, in His name. Maybe that is the reason why I have not been able to sit still or settle for the conventional. Some people may see that as a weakness. I think it is only a weakness when you lose focus of your vision and forget what is truly important.
Sadly, it may seem, I too have had to somewhat sidetrack from my pursuit of investing my life totally in the youth. People thought that just because I started a church, I will be drawn away from my focus of reaching the emerging generation as I tackle the challenges of being a church planter and senior pastor. While I agree that a strong holistic church cannot stand on youth ministry alone, I will have to disagree that the vision God gave me would be watered down to any degree as a result of the latest developments in my life.
I believe now, more than ever, that the planting of Acts Church and Dream Village, is part and parcel of this vision God has and it is still unfolding to see the youth in this nation transformed by His power. I thank God that I have not been alone in this belief but can only pray that there will be more able adults who would put their hands to the plow.
In actual fact, if anything, the recent developments have increased our vision, deepened our enthusiasm, heightened our confidence and strengthened our courage in God, to believe that the very fulfilment of this vision will trigger a nationwide youth revival.
Change is a very important word in the Christian vocabulary and change is necessary. Only problem with change is that it takes time and only time will tell whether it is for the better or for the worse. Like the building of a new highway along an existing road, change is always inconvenient, it affects everyone involved in the process. Most times, change will take away before it gives back anything of value.
Just ask Tiger Woods who tried to change his highly praised swing for an even better one. He did not win a single tournament during that time. Things got worse before it got better, but he saw the future and kept at it because he believed that once he got it right, there was no stopping him. He changed the world of golf forever. I am no Tiger Woods but I too see the future and believe that if we keep at this together, we will change the world forever.
Though it is true that only time will tell, we must make a choice to wait either as a spectator or a participant. Rest assured that only one will make the difference. Only one will be rewarded. Only one will live without regret. Only one will be remembered. Will we be that one?
D2Y2, which stands for Don’t Despise Your Youth, was an official Asian Youth Ambassador (AYA) magazine birthed out in the late 90s. The printed materials communicated dynamic and effective encouragement to and from the Church, with special emphasis on the knowledge and experiences of our Christian youths, which we believe the content is still relevant and applicable in this current generation.