The Care of Our Young Flock

In August of 2015, my wife and I celebrated the birth of our fourth child, a healthy baby girl with bright eyes and a full head of curly brown hair. A new shade of God’s color wheel soon took over the house, as pink bows and pink balloons welcomed her into our little family. Entering life with the reality of three big brothers, she would have quite the challenge keeping up with their action-packed, boisterous lifestyle. Yet, she has never skipped a beat, and has even managed to add her own flair and spicy personality along the way.

At the Feast of Tabernacles that year, like her brothers before her, she took part in the Blessing of the Little Children ceremony. This special tradition of the Church represents a formal request for God’s unique blessing and protection over His little ones, through prayer and the laying on of hands by the ministry. As parents, we bring our children to God, dedicating them to their Creator and making a commitment before His throne to rear them according to God’s way of life. In the book of Mark, Jesus Christ emphasizes this care and concern for the young potential members of His Family, saying, “‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’ And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:13–16). For more than twenty years, the Living Church of God has made significant efforts to build on that fundamental principle to serve God’s youth and reinforce the biblical, godly values taught by parents at home.

Unique Challenges and a Unique Opportunity

In the tragically misguided world of today, it’s clear that baptized members of God’s Church are a unique bunch. Many would say we worship God on the wrong day, or we keep strange Holy Days, or we have a funny diet. Yet a choice has been made to take this road less traveled, seeking to enter the Kingdom and Family of God by the narrow gate. Baptized members believe wholeheartedly in the existence of a supreme God and in His inspired Word, and have voluntarily entered into a binding covenant with their Creator. However, for the youth growing up in the Church, the fullness of that commitment is yet in their future. They are sanctified or set apart by God as holy to Him (1 Corinthians 7:14), and while God’s Holy Spirit is certainly with them, His Spirit is not yet dwelling in them (cf. John 14:17). Therefore, in many ways these young people represent one of the greatest fields of “prospective members” the Church possesses, and they are deeply deserving of our consideration.

It can be tough to be a kid these days. The youth of the Church face incredible challenges in a society entrenched in lawlessness. They truly are “hard-pressed on every side,” and have much to overcome, hence our real responsibility to care for and motivate this young flock. Satan, as a roaring lion, seeks whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8), often targeting those who are just beginning to commit themselves to God and His way of life. Nevertheless, under the direction of the Presiding Evangelist, Living Youth Programs (LYP) maintains a concentrated and consistent effort by the Church to encourage young people to grow in their relationship with their Father in heaven. LYP endeavors to create an environment where young people can increase their biblical knowledge, build relationships with other youth, and connect to the idea that they, too, can have a place in the Body of Jesus Christ, with that same incredible potential to one day be full members of the God Family.

God’s word is exciting, and we have the wonderful opportunity to share that excitement with young men and women poised to learn more about Him. They are not alone in their struggle against Satan and his devices. Parents work tirelessly to anchor their children in the faith, training them up in the way they should go from the very beginning. The Church dedicates considerable resources to programs focused on the instruction of God and His word. Together, as the Body, joined and knit together, let’s strive to continue to inspire these youth, according to the example of our Shepherd, who feeds His flock and gathers the lambs with His arm, carrying them in His bosom (Isaiah 40:11).

Thank you for your prayerful support of these future members of the Body of Christ and God’s Church!

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