Celebrate The Faith of the Next Generation
By KATELYN DEL CASTILLO
Student Ministry Leader, West Ashley Campus
When thinking of Response Time at Seacoast, we often think of the adults, but what does Response Time look like for the Next Generation?
At the end of each Custom message on Wednesday evenings, we ask our middle and high school students the same questions we ask adults on Sunday mornings, “what is God saying to you and what are you going to do about it?” Students respond to God through the cross, prayer, communion, candles, giving, and worship.
Students do not hear from God less because they are younger.
I think the default reaction when talking about the Next Generation in the church is to think, “Oh look how cute they are. They’re so young and the world hasn’t hit them yet.”
“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
There are students’ prayers on crosses across Seacoast campuses that would break your heart. Divorce, loneliness, depression, doubts, addictions—questions about their worth, identity, and place in the world.
Among the heartbreaking struggles that students face, there are also prayers on the cross that would fill you with hope for the next generation.
“Help me to see you more clearly and listen to your voice.”
“Let me have more compassion and kindness toward others.”
“Lord, thank you for healing me. For getting me through a time in my life when I thought there wasn’t anything to live for. Thank you for every breath. You are too good.”
In addition to prayer, students light candles each week believing for healing and praying for their loved ones. God is speaking to students in real ways and students are responding.
Students do not take less significant steps of faith because they are younger.
We tend to see the students within the church as distracted, self-centered, and unemotional, instead of leaning into their lives and discipling them. When we take the time to walk with students and help them grow in their faith, they respond in incredible ways.
I watched a student struggling with social anxiety pray for someone they didn’t know during Response Time. As an adult, I have pushed away some opportunities to respond because of embarrassment and shame, but students will take steps of faith in front of their peers without a second thought.
One of the most impactful moments for me during Response Time was during Summer Camp 2022. One of the camp speakers mentioned a hardship in their life and during Response Time, a group of my high school students walked up to me and said, “we’re going to go pray for them.” They weren’t asking me; they were just telling me. I followed them and was in tears hearing these students unashamedly pray for an adult and take a step of faith that I probably would have been too self-conscious to take.
Worship is such an important part of Response Time. We get the chance to praise God for who he is and what he has done. We have students on the worship team at the West Ashley Campus who are leading their peers in worship each week. I have seen some of the quietest, most introverted students raise their hands in worship to God and am encouraged in my own faith.
Students also respond to what God is saying through giving. In Custom, students can tithe by giving to Heart For, a student-initiated mission project. Students take steps of faith by giving money from their fast-food jobs, summer gigs, and allowances so that others can hear the good news of Jesus.
During Response Time, we can celebrate the faith of the next generation and allow their faith to increase ours.
- In what ways have you witnessed the next generation taking steps in their faith?
- How can you support and encourage the next generation in their faith?
- Did you miss The Cross, God As Light; God As Fire?, Who Will Sit With Me?, or Sing? Take a few minutes to read the latest Two Big Questions devotionals.
- Spend time reflecting on each element of Response Time by subscribing below to this six-week devotional. You’ll receive one devotional every Friday morning through May 26.