What is it with youth and microphones? Any time some of my youth see a microphone they immediately want to play with it.
Yesterday I asked some youth to come to the church to help clean out a closet, and they found a microphone. Before I could turn around, they had already jumped on stage and started to pretend that they were in charge and that everyone needed to listen to them. Then, all of a sudden, I hear this:
“Shannon! We want to preach!” (Wait, what? Of course I turned around, eager to hear what was next.)
“We can be like you and Josh, reading the Bible and preaching.” Said one of the youth.
“Yes! absolutely you can!” I responded.
“But what would we preach about?” asked the other.
“Love. That seems to be easy enough. There’s a ton of stories in the Bible about love. Like that woman at the well.”
They were equally excited to tell Josh, our senior pastor, when he came down an hour later.
Youth and microphones. What is it?
Microphones are a symbol of power. When you speak into a microphone, your voice is amplified. People listen when you speak.
Even when the power wasn’t on to the sound system, the youth felt a sense of power and increased confidence. Like when they spoke, people would actually listen.
“How are you going to preach, we haven’t been to church in forever?” questioned another youth.
“Well I would COME if I got to DO SOMETHING!” the youth with the microphone, center stage, replied.
And there you have it, folx. Youth WANT to be engaged, to engage. They want to serve in leadership roles. They enjoy having power and being in leadership.
The fun part is helping youth discover what type of leader they are. Some leaders are quiet, behind the scenes, planning and organizing things. Some are up front with the microphone telling jokes or reading scripture. Some lead games or facilitate small group conversations. Some step up to offer assistance getting things ready or cleaning up. Some are skilled problem solvers or helpful encouragers. Gee, sounds like 1 Corinthians 12 to me.
So what? My challenge to you is to offer your youth a microphone. Ask them, “what would you do if you were in charge?” Help them explore what unique gifts they have to offer. Educate them about the opportunities to serve in the church and in the community & involve them in those places to serve. Co-create opportunities for youth to share their gifts & energy in various capacities and reflect on their experiences with them. Encourage them. Support them. Engage them. Love them.
May God guide you as you experience the power of the Holy Spirit working through the youth as they explore who they are becoming. May God bless you with a multitude of patience and grace as you journey alongside them. Amen.