Have you ever thought about our churches’ mission program, and what part we as young people have in it? I think that it would be safe for me to say that Protestant Reformed young people have never been too active in our churches’ mission program. In fact, if you wanted to write a history of our efforts, there wouldn’t be much to put down.
As Christians, we automatically have an interest in missions, not only in our own church, but in other churches as well. But as Christians in the Protestant Reformed churches, we have been condemned for not advocating a mission program. This was not true in the past nor is it true today. Although this does not mean that our mission program is above criticism.
It is true that we as a church never have been able to do much in the field of missions. It is also true that we could and would do much more than we are now doing if we had the facilities. But it can also be said that we should be doing much more than we are now doing with our present facilities. No church can ever be satisfied that she has done enough in the area of missions, and our church is no exception to this.
So we have a problem. We are members of a church which has a limited amount of funds with which to carry out a mission program. This church is at the present time without the aid of a missionary and the general feeling among the members, both young and old, seems to be one of a lack of interest. With these factors seemingly against us and our own weakness of the flesh, it is not surprising that we have not done anything.
The time has come to do something about changing this lack of activity in our mission program. The opportunity in the mission field has never been greater. We have the truth of God’s Word and we should be doing more to promote that truth. This is a part of our calling which we should not overlook. This is what Christ tells us in John 9:4: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day ere the night cometh when no man can work.”
But where does one begin, especially a young person who has not had much experience? The answer very simply is that each of us must begin the change with our own individual efforts. I do not mean that we must each go around with the idea that we are out to save souls. This is simply not something that man can do. It is the Lord that works in the heart of the sinner and it is through the power of the Spirit that men are brought to salvation. But this does not give us an excuse; we are still responsible to let our light shine.
A very good place to begin to let your light shine would be in your own church. For an example, how many times hasn’t this happened in your church: Sometime during the service, on Sunday, you notice someone new in your church? As far as you know, this person has never been in your church before; perhaps this is his first contact with the Protestant Reformed Churches. But after the service no one, including yourself, makes any effort to make the stranger feel welcome. This has got to give that person a very bad impression of us as Christians. If each of us would make an effort to say at least, “Good morning” to the stranger in our churches, it would make quite an impression.
Another area in which our churches have not done enough work is its extension program. This is something that we as young people could look into. Perhaps your young people’s society could look into the possibility of starting a Bible School in the summer. This program would need the approval of the consistory, but it is an idea which has merit and one I feel should be tried.
There is one more area in which we as young people should become more active, and this is an increased contact with the young people of Jamaica. At the present time we have no contact with these believers and since we are the church of the future, it is important that we develop a spirit of unity with these young people. This could be a very worthwhile experience for all involved. We could act as a Christian witness to these young people, and by writing letters to them and their writing to us, we would build each other up in the faith. If you are interested enough you could talk the possibility of writing to a young person in Jamaica over with your minister or an elder.
Now, all these ideas may sound good to you, at least I would hope that they would. But these are only a very few of the possible things that we as young people can and should do. But there is no sense in coming up with a long list if we have no intention of going any further than that. An idea may look good on paper, but if it doesn’t get any further than that it really doesn’t do anyone any good.
This is where we need the help of our Lord. Without Him, we cannot accomplish a thing. We are only means by which He can carry out His purpose. We can be sure that He will gather His church.
I Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Tonight, when you pray to God, ask Him for grace so that you and the rest of us young people can meet this challenge of missions with an increased desire to be as active as the Lord would want us to be.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 5 August 1969