Ian Chew shares the challenges faced by the young generation and his desires for them as a newly on-board youth pastor.
by Ian Chew
An incident that is etched in my mind happened when I was talking to a student who had just completed her ‘A’ level exams and was interning as a relief teacher. She remarked: “How I wish I was your age, having a stable income and family, instead of worrying about what I am about to do with my life.”
I was incredulous. Here was a youth who was not yet 21, with her whole life ahead of her, and yet she wished to be a middle-aged person like me? Why would anyone want to exchange the hopes and joys of youth for anything?
This experience opened my eyes to the ubiquity of youths living lives gripped by fear of the dangers and uncertainties that the future brings. Rather than anticipating the limitless possibilities that can be achieved, many youths see the dark realities instead and worry if they can ever make it in life. Perhaps it is no wonder as they are constantly bombarded with news of gloom and doom in the world we live in. Their sense of security and identity becomes tied up with academic achievements and material possessions rather than the assurance that comes from being a child of God.
In 2 Timothy however, Paul declares to the young Timothy a totally different mindset to possess: “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (1:7). Christian youths can have a radically different perspective to life because of the hope that being in Christ brings. As our heavenly Father is in control and graciously gives of His Spirit to empower us, we can be con dent of living an abundant life and accomplishing great works for him!
My prayer for the young generation is that we find our ultimate security and self-worth in the promise of being chosen in Christ. Being also knowledgeable of God’s power and ways, we therefore become passionate in serving Him. We can look forward to God working through us to reach the world not because we are capable, but because God is faithful and will help us in what he calls us to. All that He requires of us is the mustard seed of faith to take the first step, and then the next step after that. This is the message of hope that a dark world mired in hopelessness desperately needs!
Yet we must also realize that achievements, even for God, by themselves are not the focal point. Rather, our relationship with God is of the essence. God matures us in the process of our spiritual journey and that is more precious than anything we can accomplish for him. That is why Paul yearns to present everyone mature in Christ (Col 1:28). We can only develop by growing deep roots through our constant personal experience of His faithfulness. May we not be a people who will discharge our religious duties only on Sundays but know the Spirit’s presence and prove God’s faithfulness in our lives on a daily basis!
Finally, to end on a call to individual holiness is to miss the whole point of being the church, or the body of Christ. We are not called as individuals but as a community. Being transformed to be like Christ must necessarily lead us to love one another and strangers as He did. This means that we grow as a community that warmly welcomes and embraces people of different backgrounds. In this, I am both excited and privileged to find out that Mustard Seed Service (MSS) has already embarked on this journey of becoming a welcoming community. This may be the reason why we are witnessing God’s blessing of newcomers consistently attending our services over the past few months. May we grow not only to welcome newcomers but to go further in incorporating new believers into the life of Christ and the church through an intentional process of discipleship.
To conclude, a loving and growing community consisting of knowledgeable and passionate individuals secure in the love of Christ is needed to usher in God’s kingdom in a world that is characterized by fear and hopelessness for the glory of God. May we be that community!
Ian is currently serving as the youth Pastor of Mustard Seed Service (COR youth). he worked in the Ministry of Education for 17 years before joining the church. he also stays at St Andrew’s hall and serves as a Residential Mentor there. he is married with three children, aged 15, 14 and 4.
This article first appeared in Issue 17, November 2017 CHORUS Magazine.