Pittsburgh Baptist Church has been on an aggressive investment track for the past five years. Not long after I became pastor the we started the process of renovating the church. Most of you know it cost over $400,000.00. It is an investment that has paid sizable dividends. In this time Sunday attendance has grown 300%. Our budget has nearly doubled; the numbers and strength of our ministries have increased too. Although we enjoy a renewed sense of blessing a glaring gap exist in our ministry base. It is youth ministry.
We currently offer no Sunday Bible study or weekly discipleship options targeting youth. This is not right. The tragedy is the older people get fewer of them respond to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Statistics consistently show that once a person turns 21 years of age, their likelihood of salvation dramatically drops. To state it positively, most people who come to Christ do so before they are an adult.
We need to raise our investment in youth ministries. We can start small. One or two gatherings a month in homes is a solid beginning. I was genuinely convicted of our sin of omission when I saw 100 youth during World Changers week launch from Pittsburgh Baptist Church to work on service projects throughout our city and not a single youth from our church joined them, not one. Young people from as far away as Florida and as near as Stewartstown, PA came to Pittsburgh to do home improvements, witness and prayer walk while the host church, yours, had no participants to send.
It has been said churches invest in their children and youth because they are the future. I believe we need to do it because they are our present! We do not know how long we will have the current population of youth and children with us but they are here now. When I write “the current population” I refer to those who attend our church as well as neighborhood youth.
I believe, with all my heart, the Lord desires us to have a solid, nurturing, effective youth ministry. I write these words in hope that several readers will respond like Isaiah and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Every day that passes when we do not offer young people an alternative to this world’s temptations is a blemish on our influence and their hope.
“And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'” (Luke 10:2) Will you pray for laborers? Will you pray about serving the Lord through youth ministry. It is an investment we must make.