This sermon was preached by Landry Luxon on Sunday, October 28th, 2012 at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Richmond, KY. Audio can be found here.
Good Morning, I was surprised when I found out that I would be delivering part of the sermon today but since we have no Seniors in the youth group the responsibility fell to the next class which in this case is the Sophomores. If you want to follow along with me, I will be reading from Ecclesiastes today and I will begin with Chapter 3 verses 1-4.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven;
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance.
In the past, First Christian Church was a leader among all churches where the youth are concerned. Fifteen years ago we had a large youth group and many of the youth involved attended other churches for Sunday worship services, but they came here for youth group. There were about 15 to 20 people each week and they were a family that came together from different churches and schools and they learned to support each other. They were involved in numerous activities from dance team to marching band etc. , they ranged from skinny to bigger, from jocks to nerds and they loved each other anyway. Youth group provided them with a safe haven to come together to spend time together and worship God. They were active in the youth choir and they built on their participation through the young disciples and the little angels’ choir. The leaders of the church were here and their children were too. When you had a problem you knew you could count on them for advice and comfort. There was always something going on, there were opportunities for everyone to do activities they liked and be introduced to new ones too. One strong point was that the youth had a connection to everyone in the church and felt that they always had a family here. Youth group was something you couldn’t wait to attend. The young disciples couldn’t wait to be old enough to be a part of the excitement either. The youth groups of the past were together through the good times and the bad. No matter how big or small they were always there.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verses 5-7:
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence and a time to speak.
I represent the youth of the present. Presently, there aren’t many of us, but we are hanging on because we believe in our church and what it stands for. We believe in what our church represents to the community and throughout the world. First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, is all accepting and a family of God built on Love. Love for one another and anyone else that wants to join us.
Right now we are experiencing a painful lull in attendance and involvement on every level. It’s not just the youth group who has low numbers. Look around, it isn’t hard to find a seat. I know that some people groan when it’s youth Sunday and they don’t want to come and hear what we have to say and that’s ok, but in the present it doesn’t matter if it’s Youth Sunday or any given Sunday. The number of people attending our church is down, way down. When numbers go down it’s easy to quit coming and look elsewhere for a place to worship. I could go to another youth group where there are more people, but I’d be compromising because this is my church, my home church. I love my church and what it stands for. I was dedicated and baptized in this church and I have grown up here. I don’t believe I should leave because the numbers are down or we’ve had a change in ministers. For me that’s a cop out. This is a time that we need to pull together and stick together.
I am disappointed that the adults I have looked up to and counted on and depended on for guidance have deserted the church. They have gotten upset over something and now they are gone. What happened? I don’t think of the church as a big corporation or business with a board that controls everything in secrecy. There should be transparency so that everyone knows what is so upsetting and unsettling that our members would run to other churches. I know that I am considered to be only a child and not someone that an adult is accountable to but I can tell you this, I along with every other youth in this church is watching and waiting to see what will happen next. I hope that the youth of the present and the future will aspire to come together and develop a cohesiveness that is lacking at this time.
Ecclesiastes chapter 3, verse 8
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
What does the future hold for First Christian Church?
I’d like to think that we will build our new building and people will come and worship and we will grow and prosper. But the reality is this.
The future of our church is uncertain and it depends completely on what we do right now. I have watched the changes we have made since I was a child. Any decisions we make won’t just affect the youth group it will affect the congregation. I’d like to pose several questions. Where are we going and how will we get there? What will the youth group look like in the next few years? What will it look like a year from now or 3 months from now? Will we have a youth group? What will happen to our Christmas Eve Service? Will we have enough youth to even have the pageant? Or is that something we won’t be doing this year? If we give up and stop attending or stop inviting others, or quit doing our usual programs we lose any ground that we have now as a church. I challenge everyone to use their creativeness to meet the needs of the youth group and the congregation. We need to use any resource at our disposal to keep First Christian Church alive in Christ. In closing let me just say.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for us so that we have everlasting life. What price are you willing to pay for First Christian Church?