How to Empower Youth
and Young Adults for Mission     
[Main Story]

BY TARA VIN CROSS                                                                                         

Take the mission seriously.
Jesus’ passion and longing for His people are unmistakable throughout the New Testament. In parables and experiences He shows His priority for reaching those who are lost, lonely, hurting, and broken (see Luke 13:34, 35; Luke 15; Mark 5:34). As a Seventh-day Adventist Church we are a movement raised up by God to call others out of confusion to worship, love, and serve the Creator until His return (Rev. 14:6-12). When we do not see the mission, we do not see the need to work together. Focusing clearly on the mission breaks down the barriers of age, race, and gender.

Take them seriously.  
The Adventist Church was a movement started by youth and young adults. Ellen Harmon was just 17 years old when she received a vision from God. John Loughborough became an itinerant preacher at 17. Uriah Smith became editor of the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (now the Adventist Review) at 23.*

Considering these facts, look around your local church and ask yourself, “Are the youth and young adults in my congregation empowered with the mission of God to share the good news with others? Do we really take them seriously, believing they have something to contribute to the leadership of the church now?”
 
Take investing seriously.
Investing time and resources is essential to empowering the next generation of spiritual church leaders and moving forward in our mission. Consider these ideas:  
  • 
Start a church-based canvassing program in your city, which will help to disciple young people and give them hands-on experience in serving God. For information on ways to do that, e-mail info@payouthchallenge.org.  
  • 
Become a spiritual mentor to a specific youth or young adult.  
  • 
Host a dinner and Bible study or a weekly vespers program for young people in your home. Discipleship begins in homes.  
  • 
Invite young people to be involved in key leadership roles in the church, and mentor them in those positions so they can experience God using them for His work.
To some, these suggestions might appear impossible to implement. The leaders at the Chestnut Hill church, where I pastor, first viewed the idea of organizing PYC as a daunting task. But we must all remember that this is God’s work, and He is a God who makes the impossible, possible. So step forward by faith, and watch Him work!

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* Facts taken from Lynette Frantzen, “Young Adventist Pioneers,” Adventist Review, found at www.adventist
review.org/2004-1522/story2.html.

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Tara Vin Cross is senior pastor of the Chestnut Hill Adventist Church and REACH church plant in Philadelphia.





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