Article by: District Evangelist Graham Stanford
Our Chief Apostle Schneider has provided us a wonderful motto for 2021 “Christ, Our Future”.
This future includes all of us and compels us to look forward not back. Our District Apostle Woll touched on this in his letter earlier this month stating: “Christ remains our choice for the future.” The year 2020 was difficult, and this year we want to focus on the importance of our congregational life and the aspects of it as a theme in many of the letters that will be shared.
This month we will focus on those in the age groups of 11 to 14 years old. These are those who are included in the Junior Youth and attend Confirmation classes.
In the fall of 2019, our District Apostle established a Junior Youth program across Canada to provide activities that initiate and promote relationships and friendships among these young ones. These focused events are framed by the themes of faith, fellowship, and fun. In many areas across Canada in 2020, we used media like Zoom, to provide virtual activities as we couldn’t be physically together.
The Confirmation classes are a preparation for the youth so that on their fourteenth year they can make a vow to remain faithful until their end and receive a blessing from our heavenly Father. This blessing will accompany them in time and into eternity. Today, due to many provincial guidelines, our classes are held virtually. The volunteer teachers provide instruction in a wonderful manner to educate and strengthen these young souls.
We are blessed in Canada to have a Junior Youth and Confirmation committee comprising of representatives from Western Canada, Ontario, and Eastern Canada. They meet to provide direction to our Confirmation teachers and suggest innovative ways to interact with the Junior Youth.
Together with the District Apostle, we as servants of God have a desire to keep our children in the center of our congregations. Here is where they can be spiritually safe and have the best opportunity to remain in God’s house. As our children grow and mature, we want them to decide for Christ, to renounce Satan in all his way, and to stay in our fellowship all their days. In the parable of the widow and the lost coin (Luke 15: 8-10), the woman searches carefully for a coin she has lost. For us in the congregation, let us work together to retain these souls in God’s house and diligently put our efforts forth to do this. The energy and activity used is less dramatic than a frantic search but allows us to concentrate on retention instead of recovery. A few steps to achieve this is to be aware of these young youth and try to help them through kind and encouraging words, prayers, and recognize them as members in the fellowship of Christ. Let us help them, and ourselves live as the first Christians did, as is written in Acts 2: 42; “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
Let us look to the future together in “Christ, our future!”