Equipping Youth and Children to Be Worshippers

Equipping Youth and Children to Be Worshippers

Since March 2020, we have not been able to gather for worship some Sundays. Currently, as of February 2021, we are not able to gather for worship due to the Otaru City officials’ request for its citizens to refrain from going out except for school, clinic visits, or minimal grocery shopping to prevent further spreading of COVID-19. 

The deacons and I discussed over the phone how to conduct worship services for the Sundays when we cannot gather at our church building and decided to record the Scriptural reading, a sermon, and a pastoral prayer and broadcast it for those who could watch on the internet. Since there are also those who do not have any access to the internet in our congregation, we mailed the bulletins and sermon scripts to those members so they could worship on Sunday at the same time at home. 

At our church, the children’s group had just studied about worship in the children’s summer camp, so we asked them to take part in Scriptural readings for our worship videos. Their parents recorded their voices as they read the Bible, and we put that together with some captions. The deacons and I did not have enough knowledge or skills to do everything on our own, so we actively asked younger people in church to help us record sermons, add captions, and edit videos to put them on the internet. 

Though the number of children and youth are very few in our church, this change of approach enabled all of them to be involved to some degree in worship preparations. In addition, there were some unchurched people who have never been to our church who now watch the video and worship. They typically had some connections to our church and watch because someone they know was involved in the project.

Although we cannot see each other in person now, our prayer is that those youth and children inside and outside our church will become the worship leaders of the future. Their relatives near and far also enjoyed listening to the voices of their little ones reading the Bible.

Upon reflection, there are three factors that seemed to have contributed to the development of worship style changes at this transitional time.

  1. Our church has been focusing on and praying to minister to and educate youth and children to become good Christians. Their names appear on our monthly prayer calendar.
  2. Most youth were happy to be asked to help adults in the areas that they are good in, such as video editing on their smart phones. One youth I called and talked to for the first time, seeking advice in this area, makes a living broadcasting his own video programs on the internet.
  3. Connections to neighboring churches across city borders improved. As Otaru City issued a request to limit comings and goings, I as a commuting pastor from a neighboring city could not go into Otaru even for recording sermons. However, the mother church of our church happened to be outside Otaru, so they offered to provide their sanctuary for recording the sermon. A first-grade student at the age of seven recorded my most recent sermon there!

For Reflection and Discussion

  1. What steps have you taken or could you take to involve youth and children in your worship services?
  2. How could we overcome our cultural norms in order to bring children closer to God?
  3. What are electronic devices or apps you already have but are not familiar with? How could you enlist the help of the younger generation to learn more about this technology and how to use it for ministry?
  4. What is the history surrounding the birth of your church? Does your church take time each year to remember and recognize the history and intergenerational connections?
The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference

The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference

BWA General Council Resolution 1984.2

We rejoice in the success of the 10th Baptist World Youth Conference recently held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We strongly reaffirm the following message from the Conference addressed to Baptists of the world and commend its implementation in whatever way seems most appropriate:

“We have come from 68 nations to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to witness to our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We, 4000 delegates representing millions of Baptist young people around the world, send this message of hope to Baptist youth everywhere.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the truth and thus the basis of all our actions. Because of Christ our lives have meaning. We pledge ourselves to share this Good News with all youth in every country of the world. We pledge ourselves to work to evangelize the world in our generation.

Our faith in Jesus Christ is a call to commitment. No longer can we be passive participants in a lost world, but we commit ourselves to active responsibility as servants of Christ to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned.

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace. Thus we are called to be peacemakers. We appeal to all the leaders of the world to stop the nuclear arms race which threatens to destroy God’s creation. As peacemakers we call upon Baptist young people to work for justice as a counterpart to peace.

The world economic order which pits rich against poor and nation against nation is a sign of sin for which Christ alone is the answer.

We dedicate ourselves to the task of being witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our personal and social lives.

Our message is Jesus Christ! We call all brothers and sisters to rededicate their lives to Christ and to be his witnesses to the end that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdom of our Lord and he shall reign forever and ever!

With gratitude in our hearts and thanks to God we send a word of love to the people and Baptists of Argentina. You have welcomed us warmly and have made possible a significant Conference for Baptist young people around the world. May God bless your country and leadership as it brings a new era of peace and justice to its people. We thank your president, Raul Alfonsin, for honoring us with his presence and message of hope and reconciliation.

As our contribution to the UN International Year of Youth 1985 we pledge ourselves to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to work for peace and justice in our own countries and around the world. We will continue our efforts to work for friendship between young people East and West, North and South.

To God be the glory — great things He hath done! We go with a renewed vision of dedication to work for the kingdom of God and the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to everyone in the world. Jesus Christ is the Truth — our faith, our commitment, our peace!”

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984), p. 86.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1984.2 The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1984.2).

The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference

International Year of Youth

BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5

WE TAKE NOTE that 1985 has been set apart as the International Year of Youth.

WE BELIEVE this to be an important emphasis in view of the following statistics published by the United Nations:

a) In 1980 there were 657 million young people under 35 years of age in the world. By 2000 it is estimated that there will be 880 million.

b) In the same period the number of young people in Africa, Asia and Latin America will have doubled.

WE CALL UPON Baptists of the world, in cooperation with other Christians, to make one of their evangelistic goals the winning of a whole new generation of young people for Christ, by sharing with them the Gospel of hope as the only answer to the many problems and dangers facing them — nuclear threat, unemployment, drugs, hunger, poverty, materialism, racism, violence, etc.

WE ESPECIALLY URGE the Alliance, the Regional fellowships, the member conventions and unions and all our churches to promote leadership training among young people under 35 and entrust greater responsibility to them in the life and mission of the church.

WE WOULD ENCOURAGE the Nominating Committee and President-nominee to give careful consideration to the placement of young people in the committees, commissions and programs of the Alliance.

WE UNDERTAKE to do all within our power to encourage and enable maximum participation by young people in the Los Angeles Congress.

FINALLY, WE UNDERLINE the three-fold motivation of this resolution:
a) to bring to the world’s young people the blessings of salvation through Jesus Christ alone;
b) to recognize and receive the significant contribution which young people have to make;
c) to develop experienced and gifted Christian leadership for the future of both Church and Society.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Claas, Gerhard, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Gerhard Claas, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1984 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (Washington, DC: Baptist World Alliance, 1984), pp. 87-88.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5 International Year of Youth; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1984.5).

The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference

Openness in the Soviet Union

BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1

Today we commend Christians in the Soviet Union, and especially Baptists, for their positive contributions, faithfully made in season and out, to their country’s morality, culture and history.

For many years the Baptist World Alliance has appealed to the government of the USSR to permit a larger measure of religious freedom for its people.

At this General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Nassau, the Bahamas, July 1988, we:

Acknowledge, with thanksgiving to God, a widening degree of openness afforded to all citizens by the government of the Soviet Union which has licensed the printing and importation of a substantial number of Bibles and religious books and permitted Baptists to take steps toward audiovisual production;

Commend this openness and express to fellow Baptists in the USSR heartfelt and prayerful support, especially as they move toward the realization of their long-sought vision for a seminary for those called of God to proclaim the Word both to believers and unbelievers in their homeland; and

Express the hope that this liberalizing spirit will continue to the realization of a new law about freedom of conscience for all citizens, thus facilitating the availability of Bibles, amnesty for all prisoners of conscience and the implementation of constitutional guarantees in the matters of ministry and religious training, especially for children and young people.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1988 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1988), p. 68.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1 Openness in the Soviet Union; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1988.1).

The 10th Baptist World Youth Conference

Sexual Morality

BWA General Council Resolution 1989.3

WHEREAS, humanity everywhere is undergoing a revolution in sexual morality as evidenced by changing mores, promiscuity, marital infidelity and a preoccupation of the media and advertising with a crass commercialization of sex, and

WHEREAS, the youth of most societies in today’s world are largely disoriented as to sexual values which contribute to the stability and enjoyment of family life over the span of human life, and

WHEREAS, much physical, emotional and spiritual harm is being perpetuated upon humanity by cheapening of sex in the media, by the sexual exploitation of women and children in pornography, by extra-marital pregnancies, by the use of abortion for birth control, by the widespread sexual abuse of children, by the rapid and frightening spread of AIDS, and by commercialization of sex, and

Whereas, God gave to humankind the good gift of sex for procreation, the expression of love and pleasure, and the enhancement of the biblical teaching of the one-flesh relationship, in the context of monogamous marriage all to be used to the glory and purposes of God, and

WHEREAS Christ’s redemption includes our human sexuality,

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the General Council of the Baptist World Alliance, meeting in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, August 1989, encourages Baptist churches and Baptist bodies in and nations to prepare, share and disseminate materials advocating the biblical understanding of human sexuality in order to encourage high respect among both males and females of all ages for each other and faithfulness to the mind of Christ.

Citations

Original Source Bibliography: Lotz, Denton, editor. Baptist World Alliance 1989 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory. McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1989.

Original Source Footnote/Endnote: Denton Lotz, ed., Baptist World Alliance 1989 Yearbook: Minutes of the General Council Meeting and Directory (McLean, VA: Baptist World Alliance, 1989), p. 62.

Online Document Full Citation: BWA General Council Resolution 1989.3 Sexual Morality; https://o7e.4a3.myftpupload.com/resolutions.

In-text Online Document Citation: (BWA General Council Resolution 1989.3).