Don't Let Anyone Look Down On You - Part I
If you’ve ever been to a football game at the University of Oklahoma, you’ve experienced the “Boomer/Sooner” yell. One side of the stadium shouts out “Boomer!” and the other side responds “Sooner!” This goes on for quite some time. Quite a long time, actually. I only bring it up because it reminds me that there are many of us boomers who have become elders much sooner than we expected. This has not gone unnoticed at The Gathering. In fact, I’ve had a couple of friends ask why there seem to be so many young ministry leaders showing up on the programs at the conferences. It’s intentional…and it’s intentional because our direction for the next five years is to actively encourage more and more young givers as participants and young ministry leaders as resources to The Gathering.
I’ve been mulling over the Apostle Paul’s counsel to Timothy and what he said there is just as relevant for us. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Paul didn’t tell Timothy to spike his hair, become a youth pastor in his first church and limit himself to concerts and beach trips. Instead, he was to teach all the believers. Believers of all ages and maturity. That’s how we need to view our younger participants and leaders now. We don’t need to start a “children’s church” for The Gathering. Rather, we are in a unique place to start learning from those who are young. It’s a simple illustration but think about who taught you to use your first computer. Your son or daughter probably or even your grandchildren. Who taught you who to use email? Who taught you how to program your Blackberry? We’re already being taught by the young in so many ways.
Paul then encourages Timothy to take seriously his role as an example to the other believers. He’s not to depend on their being models for him but he is to take the responsibility of being an example of spiritual maturity for them. An example of what? An example of a mature believer. The word “example” really means a sample – a taste of what you are about to have. I loved examples in my math classes because I needed to see something tangible first. Something that I could follow and know it was not just a theory. In the same way, Timothy may be young but he has much to teach them about their own walk with Christ. They should be looking to him as a taste of what they can expect in their own lives and not the other way around. He should be respectful but not reluctant. In our next Blog entry we’ll continue this look at how Paul urges Timothy on as an example for other believers. It’s an example we could all model.