(Jan 28) Who is Sitting So Close?

Look at the congregation...what do you see?

This picture is taken from the second Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church of Mustang on January 27, 2019. Notice the teenagers. The people you see in the congregation are all in high school. They sit together as a group. The fact that they congregate as a youth group is not unusual. The fact that they are front and center -- including filling the front row -- is quite rare.

Each Sunday I have the privilege of preaching God's Word to hundreds of people, and I care for every one of them. It is an honor and joy to stand in front of the body of Christ and open the pages of Scripture. I want to teach, challenge, encourage, and shepherd all of our church family, regardless of age.

There is something particularly sweet, however, about preaching in a church where the teenagers are the first people I see as I scan the congregation. As a preacher, looking into the eyes of young people has a way of communicating the weight of what you are doing. These young people are impressionable, influential, and passionate.

Someone asked me recently if it bothered me that some of the people in the congregation could not be listening. I replied, "It concerns me more that there are people who ARE listening." As a preacher, I am reminded that while I am not naive enough to think every person in the building is hanging on my every word, I am aware that there are some who will hear and remember what I say. I am accountable and responsible for the words I speak. And the dear people in the picture above need to hear the Bible taught in a clear and compelling way.

These young people in the picture have no idea how much they minister to me by sitting front and center, with their Bibles open, listening as the Word is taught. They give me energy, focus, encouragement, and they challenge me. I want to reach their minds and their hearts. They are saying to me each week, "Here I am. I am listening. I am front and center. Do you have anything for me?"

Praise the Lord, by His grace, I do have something for them...the words of life recorded for us in the Word of God.

You never know how the Lord can use you to bless another person. These teenagers encouraged me today (and every Sunday!), and I am grateful for them.

So, it is the end of a great, but long Sunday. Tomorrow, the work begins all over again. I will be in the study, in prayer, and in preparation. Sunday is coming soon. And there will be a big group of teenagers again sitting front and center ready to hear the Word.

I love the body of Christ!


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