Three young leaders feature on our War Cry cover this week. Philip White, Joel Knight and Daniel Buttar attend the same Salvation Army church and youth group, and this year they’re all head students at their respective high schools. That’s pretty impressive!
Each of these young men is privileged to come from stable homes with loving parents who have set them on a good path for life. In their extended families, Philip, Joel and Daniel are also blessed with other strong role models.
But, as the proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes more than one person—or one family—to teach a child how to live. Over many years, these three boys have had the advantage of being part of a church fellowship that has nurtured their faith, reinforced the values they’ve learnt at home, provided them with useful formative experiences, and that has also given them the opportunity to develop as leaders and mentors of others.
The last census shows that Christians are no longer the majority religion in New Zealand and that four out of 10 Kiwis consider themselves ‘non religious’. It’s true that Christianity has lost some of its appeal, which is sad, because the Christian Church has so much to offer. Many of the things people are looking for in life—answers to the deepest questions of human existence, a sense of community, strong role models for young people, pastoral support and caring, opportunities to learn, grow, serve and lead—are available from their local church. And for young people that don’t have such a great home life, church can help fill in some of the gaps.
We’re not always aware of the great benefits that church involvement offers because these are the sort of benefits we reap over time, not just from one or two quick visits. If you’ve given church a wide berth because you’ve believed some of its bad press, or if you’ve been just an occasional church attender, I’d encourage you to take a closer and longer look. Take it from me, the local church is a great ‘village’ to be a part of.
‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’
‘Kaua tena o koutou na e titiro ki ona mea anake, engari
me titiro ano tena, tena o koutou ki nga mea a etahi atu.’
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