Thursday, March 29, 2012

How to Work with Youth

(I am currently doing some research in Ellen White's writings on a topic I am seeking to write an article on. Searching for "key words" is beneficial on many levels. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that you come across articles and writings on a multitude of subjects that you are not necessarily seeking. This is one example of that: some counsel by Ellen White, written in 1886, on how to do youth ministry. It has great relevance for us today!)

I advise and exhort that those who have charge of the youth shall learn how to adapt themselves to meet the youth where they are, by learning useful lessons themselves of Him who was meek and lowly of heart, that they may bring into their life and character the love of Jesus. They should be kind, cheerful, and courteous, and bind the hearts of the youth to their hearts by the strong cords of love and affection.
     Do not be afraid to let them know that you love them. If the love is in the heart give it expression, do not smother it. When they gather about the table to partake of God's precious bounties make this a season of cheerfulness. Do not make it a season of grave decorum as though they were standing about a coffin, but have it a social season where every countenance is full of joy and happiness, where naught but cheerful words are spoken. And the youth should not feel that they are under an eye that is watching them, ready to reprove and condemn. Approve whenever you can; smile whenever you can; do not arrange your countenance as though a smile would bring the condemnation of heaven. Heaven is all smiles and gladness and gratitude. I wish we all knew more about heaven and would bring its pure, healthful, holy influence into our lives, for then we would bring sweet joy into many a life that needs it.
     In association with one another we should cultivate habits and ways and manners that would attract and invite the confidence of the young. Satan has abundance of alluring temptations to charm and captivate the youth. If Christians would bring more pleasantness into their lives they would make religion and truth a power for good. I verily believe that few know how to deal with the young. They need more of the spirit that pervades heaven before their own religious life will be as the sweet perfume, and before they can exert a proper influence over the faulty, erring youth who, notwithstanding all their faults, have a depth of love and affection if it could only be called forth by love and affection.
     Oh that we could be more like Christ and not repulse but attract. With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. With what measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again. God will deal with us as we deal with one another. Then let us be very careful that we do not become pharisaical, but let us be Christlike. This your school in South Lancaster needs.
     If anyone has a motherly influence that tries to help and encourage the young do not let the idea be entertained that she is teaching them to be rebellious; because there is a kind, courteous spirit manifested to help the young do not let this be interpreted as working against the instructors of the youth. It will certainly be a contrast to the attitude of some, and the children will prefer to be in the company of those who have a sunny temperament, who possess some joyfulness and gladness; but this should not create envy or jealousy or evil surmisings. This spirit of cheerfulness and hope and joy must be an element in your school, or it will never flourish and grow up and become a missionary field as every school should be. . . .
     I will work against this cold, cast-iron, unsympathizing religion as long as I have strength to wield my pen. The Lord knows there is enough of this element in the churches in our land. My soul is pained beyond measure as I see so little of the love of Jesus. We need to live very close to Jesus, to have wise discrimination, to have wisdom to speak a kind word, that will have a soothing and comforting influence at the right time, throwing sunshine into the minds and hearts. Oh for the sunshine of the Son of righteousness to rise in our hearts!--Letter 19, 1886, pp. 4-6. (To Elder S. N. Haskell, July 12, 1886.)  [6MR 92-93].

1 comment:

holamickey said...

Thanks Shawn -- good read.