1.1 Background of the Study
Youth is the time of life when one is young, and often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is also defined as “the appearance, freshness, vigor, spirit. The above definition showcases the characteristic of one who is young”. Biblically, God often used young people to do great things. For example in the cases of David, Joshua, Joseph, Daniel and many other youths as recorded in the Old Testaments. In the New Testaments, God used a youth name “Timothy” to pastor and lead the Ephesian church when he was a teenager. According to (1Timothy 4:12 says), “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” In addition, there is much to be learned from the faith of a child. Matthew 18:2-4 says, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” Because of God’s heart for young people, it is important to recognize youth’s value in today’s church.
When talking of church growth there are some factors to be considered, among such factors is the leaders’ relationship with the youths which forms the next generation church. It cannot be over emphasized that youths play a vital role in the life of a Church as they are the leaders of tomorrow and future of the church (Day & Kurtz, 2017). The elderly stands out but youth’s contributions have been shinning and have always been flag bearers of every Church. For any tangible growth to take place in any Christian community, the youth must be significant in that process of growth. This is the more reason why wise nations, countries, groups and organization focus more on the development of youths so that the future of such investments would never be improvised or blind. It is therefore of vital importance in today’s Church to prepare assiduously youths for the tasks they would naturally face in the coming future. It is only when we have nourished our youths that they in-turn develop the Church.
To foster rapid proliferation of church growth the church must incorporate contemporary stratagems to the youth ministry in establishing the growth of youths. The elders have a role to be flexible and adjust to the ever changing needs of youths through updating and matching the youth energy and vitality while avoiding old models. The youth must therefore in the long-run not to dilute the gospel message but discover how to live out the good news and encourage others to do so (Nielson, 2016).
The Church Growth Movement started with a passion for the Great Commission, and seeing people come to Christ. The vision of Christ towards church growth was not just to see the world drafted to the church but to see them saved and remained in the faith (Luke 14: 23). The creature of God lie waste around the world, engulfed in sins and wicked acts which need immediate intervention from the Church of God (John 4: 35-36). To religiously execute this great task called the “Great Commission of the Church” the church earnestly needs active involvement of the youths. The church is a community composed of members from diverse backgrounds who enjoin to share the work of God. The youth must therefore be involved actively in drawing the congregation both old and young to participate responsibly in the work, life and mission of the church and the community (Nielson, 2016). When the youth are drawn to the community it becomes easier for them to comprehend what it is to live in the Christian community.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The major challenge in today’s church is the inability to examine the role of youth and church growth. Another problem is how best to measure their level of repentance coupled with all the evil occurence in the world today. A variety of indicators for attendance and occasional offices are available, but all are affected to some degree by measurement error and random fluctuations. Such variability poses particular problems with small churches, where the addition or subtraction of just a few people produces large proportional changes in the totals. Today, a great percentage of our Christian youths are living a life of disobedience to the Word of God, they are copying the patterns of this world with dexterity. Today, the lifestyle of the youth is such that it is very difficult to have a distinction between Christian youths and of those who are not Christians. How can we change the perspective of our youth who are easily lured and enticed by worldly lifestyle? This research became pertinent because it aims at making an analysis of the contributions youths to church growth. Most organizations especially in church set up always want their youths to live a care-free lifestyle (character trait of Jesus), the absence of this brings a very big problem between the youths and the leadership of the church. In some instances, the youths are removed from position of leadership or placed on church discipline. This indicates that Christian organizations are after godly lifestyles that will lead to church growth.