Youth Ministry: December 2016

Imagine intently studying each of the presidential candidates and their platforms, yet never being allowed to cast a vote. What if you cared so deeply for a candidate that you volunteered for their campaign, all the while accepting that it is illegal for you to enter the voting booth? What might it feel like to have no voice in the decision for your future, yet still have to wade through a confusing world where your brown friends are threatened, your gay friends spat at, and your own safety feels less sure? While most of us adults are struggling to make sense of our post-election world, our youths are trying to grapple with a country they feel passionately invested in, yet have no democratic voice to be heard. This is the reality of many youths across the country and the youth of Hope Church are no different.

Over the past several months, I have been impressed by our youth’s knowledge, not only of our government systems, foreign policies, and the state of democracy, but by their acute understanding of each of the candidates. They care. Deeply. Many teens are so well-informed about our democratic process that it puts many of us apathetic adults to shame. On a recent Sunday, I asked our High Hopers if they were sick of discussing politics yet, since it had already been about 3 weeks since the election. Their social media feeds are just as vitriolic as many adults are and I figured they were as sick of it as I was. Instead, they relished the opportunity to discuss their fears and process the fallout that is happening at their schools as well as ways they think our government can improve. In some cases, there has been an increase of bullying against minority and LGBTQ students. Their schools are responding by bringing in outside organizations to coach on how to handle the stress and aggression.

Perhaps you have heard it said that teens who have recently completed drivers training are some of the least accident prone in our population. I wonder if some of the same could be said of our youths studying civics, history, and government in school. If we let some of the problems of our country be examined by those of us who are younger, I wonder what fresh ideas they might have? “And a little child might lead them” indeed.

~Beth Carroll, Resident Pastor of Youth and Young Adults