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Don't Underestimate Them

by Shayla Asselin

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

I Timothy 4:12

I recently asked a group of teenagers if they ever felt underestimated. Their response was “all the time.” Their answer kind of broke my heart but it didn’t surprise me. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. I’ve been the teenager who felt underestimated and, unfortunately, I’ve been the adult who has underestimated teenagers.

As we continued to discuss the question I had asked them, they explained how they feel society as a whole seems to write them off. Because they haven’t lived long enough, their opinions and ideas are not valued. Since some teenagers are selfish and inconsiderate, then all teenagers must be selfish and inconsiderate. Those are just two common misperceptions about young people in society today.

As the church, we can’t afford to make the same mistake as society. We can’t allow underestimation to become the enemy. Teenagers can and want to do great things for God. Who am I to stand in the way of someone's potential merely based on their age? In 1 Samuel 17, God could use a little shepherd boy with five smooth stones and a sling. He used the little maid of Israel in 2 Kings 5. In the book of Daniel, He used three Hebrew boys. He used a young boy with lunch in John 6. Let's not forget Mary, the mother of Jesus. Throughout the Bible, God has a tendency to bless

people's ability and availability with His anointing.

I pray we never try to stifle what God is trying to do in and through the youth in our churches.

Nathaniel and I have the opportunity to teach the teen class at our church and we have been amazed by their willingness to serve. A couple of months ago, a student text me and asked if we could start doing things to serve our community. The whole class supported the idea and suggested ideas for a monthly “serve day” in our city. Last month, in 2 hours, 19 teenagers packed 900 meals in 600 boxes at a local food bank. That was 7,200 pounds of food being distributed to people in our community. This Saturday on September 11, they requested we bake cookies for our first responders.

Give your teenagers an opportunity and you may just be surprised.

Purpose is powerful. Passion is propelling.

When we help teenagers combine the two, they will be able to make an awesome impact on our churches, our cities, and our country.

They are not just the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today! There is an anointing on their lives. There is power in their prayers. There is value to their ideas. They are capable of great things! Will you help and encourage them to follow their purpose? The math of collaboration is multiplication. Deuteronomy 32:30 establishes this principle by telling us that one could put 1,000 to flight, but two can put 10,000 to flight. We know Jesus could come back any day, but let us determine to work while we wait. I'm fully convinced that together we can make an impact.

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