Thinking Through COVID-19 as Youth and Youth Parents
The last several weeks have been unprecedented. Only as far back as February were people in our region going to parades and spending time with extended family. As we journeyed into the month of March things began to change and develop. What changed? A virus that was in the eastern hemisphere—mainly China, Asia, and Australia—made its way to the USA. By the middle of March, all our day-to-day activities and rhythms changed.
The majority of Americans (I’ll assume about 80 percent) were placed into mitigation. That meant no social gatherings, festivals, concerts, theaters, sporting events, and corporate worship services. Did you just notice the word corporate? Corporate means a cohesive and collective group of people.
This has been the routine for many of us for years. Specifically for someone like myself who is ministering to young people, Sundays have been about church. I’m sure in this time of mitigation and isolation you’ve missed (church). Also, I understand that you’ve also been in a place where you haven’t missed it.
This long extended time of being stuck inside or unable to do what Americans typically do—shop, eat, work, leisure, etc.— has shifted. Avenues exist where we can do these things at home, but they’re not the same. However, discipleship to Jesus is still the same. If you’re a person of faith, discipleship doesn’t stop because you’re freed of Sunday gatherings.
For all the young people in our church, this time of mitigation has forced two things upon you: 1) the option to learn what it means to search the scriptures for God and learn to meet with him without depending on the skill of preachers and teachers and 2) the mundane or boring things (self-perceived) of Christian subculture have been unchained of you. You are not forced by your parents to go to church.
In layman’s terms, in this season you’ve had the option to either grow in your faith and adopt the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, or you have seen this as a break from God and church. This has been the temptation for so many of us. I want to encourage you that the season can still be redeemed.
How can this season be redeemed? Use this extended downtime of rest to seek God like never before. Read the scriptures day and night. Pray what you got! If you’ve never prayed for an hour don’t try that the first time. If all you got is ten minutes, do ten minutes as often as possible. Your desire to pray will increase, and it will shift from duty to delight.
For people in different places in life, all of this will look different. Retired people have some more margin than young moms who have to have eyes on kiddos during waking hours. Kids whose school is still normal do not have the margin of others.
My point is, I’m not placing a pastor’s yoke on someone who has a different schedule. But for all Christians, we are called to behold the glory of Jesus. Our first mandate is to minister to God—to be with him and have personal time in worship. This looks different as previously stated based on position and calling, but just because you’re not a pastor or worship leader does not give you an excuse.
Youth, I wish it were different, but you will grow up in America where we are at a tipping point. I’m only twenty-five, but in my life, I’m amazed at the progression of secularism—life apart from God. Whether it’s the celebration of homosexuality, abortion, injustice, pornography, violence, and political discord, we live in unprecedented times. You are the generation of Daniel who is going into Babylon. Things are shifting and cultural Christianity is fading. I personally know several people who have left the faith. Don’t let that be us!!
What made Daniel so strong in Babylon? He lived during the reign of Josiah. Revival took place under Josiah, who began to seek God fervently at the age of 26. Daniel at a young age grew in rhythms of worship and fellowship with God.
The only way to thrive in the chaotic world we live in and to not drift away from Jesus is to make it your life goal to passionately pursue him. Beloved, in this isolated time, pursue God like never before. HE REWARDS THOSE WHO SEEK HIM (Heb. 11:6). He blesses those who call on his name. (Romans 10).