Dear Fellow Children of God,
As you read this devotion I am making a request. Would you please take a moment and pray with me for Brittany Arlow, Sven Maakestad, and Hunter Richards? You might wonder, “Why, Pastor? I pray for many people and for loved ones. Why do you want me to pray for Brittany, Sven, and Hunter?”
Brittany is a member of St. John who graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul, MN, this month with a degree as a Director of Christian Education. Brittany will serve God’s church in a congregation in Lincoln, NE, working as DCE with young people.
Sven is a May 2015 graduate of Alaska Bible College. Sven would like to be a Lutheran pastor. So Sven will be working with young adults and music ministry at St. John in Palmer until going to seminary in September 2016.
Hunter is a member of St. John who is a May 2015 graduate of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. Hunter is coming home to Palmer to work as a Christian counselor. In addition, Hunter will serve at St. John by working with young adults. Hunter will also help out by preaching and teaching as needed.
But, you may still be wondering why I want you to pray for Brittany and Sven and Hunter.
All these young people are in their 20’s and will be working in God’s church, specifically with people their age or younger. Yet young people today are leaving the Christian church in ways never seen before in our culture. Look at the statistics quoted in recent articles.
In an article in Leadership Magazine from Winter, 2012, the following data is shared. “Six in 10 young people will leave the church permanently or for an extended period starting at age 15, according to new research by the Barna Group.”
In an August 6, 2013 article in Baptist Press the following trends are shared. “A LifeWay Christian Resources survey from 2007 indicated that 70 percent of 18–22-year-olds stop attending church for at least one year. Surveys by The Barna Group repeatedly have shown that a majority of 20-year-olds leave church, often never to return.”
In an article in from Christian Post, May 27, 2015, the following societal direction is noted. “When asked about the importance of church in their lives, 80% of 14-33 year olds reported that church was 'not important' to them.”
Do you see the progression in the statistics quoted in these articles? It seems that each year the trend is increasing! No wonder that, when over 100 people from St. John got together in January to begin a strategic planning process, the number one area of need identified for St. John was working with young adults! Most all Christian churches are struggling in ministry to and with young adults.
Yet, what a blessing from God that many young adults continue to rejoice in the love of Christ. What a blessing from God that Brittany and Sven and Hunter see the privilege of serving God, and that they are willing to embrace the challenge and the adventure of sharing the truth of God in a world that is in such need.
But, there is another reason to pray for Brittany and Sven and Hunter. Jesus Himself calls us to such prayer. Please consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 9:37-38. “37 Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’" Jesus knew the great need for His grace and He wants all people to know His saving love. So, Jesus calls us to pray for workers because people need to know His love, and because workers need the help of God in their efforts. Perhaps our workers need God’s help now more than ever, especially if they are working with young people in our culture.
Would you please take a moment now to pray for all workers in Jesus’ church? Would you please pray with me specifically for Brittany, and for Sven, and for Hunter?
A Child of God, Praying for workers, and praying for the youth in God’s Church,
P.S. Here are some pictures from Hunter Richards’ graduation from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO on May 22. https://plus.google.com/photos/114993745799525883148/albums/6151944922894795633?banner=pwa
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am always adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message. . .