Welcome to a new year at YMC! This year’s theme is “The Life.” All of our resources and blogs will be aimed at this theme. Today we explore….

The Life Spent in Church

Felicia Fox is the Associate Pastor of Students & Families at First Baptist Mount Olive. She is a graduate of the M. Christopher White School of Divinity at Gardner-Webb University. She enjoys helping young people see God in their everyday lives, painting, and playing with her three dogs.

Today we had a funeral at church. It was for one of our older woman who came pretty close to being a saint for our community. Today I learned that she and her husband had been married almost seventy years earlier in the same sanctuary that was now holding her funeral. Our church also held his funeral a few years earlier. It made me think about the life that is spent in a church and the beauty that comes from being connected to a church for that long. I wonder if the youth in our churches today will be able to have a connection to a church like that when they are older. I hope and pray they do.

Today we read articles and hear reports on how quick teens tend to move from one trend to another. Do you remember fidget spinners or the bottle flip challenge? Here today and gone tomorrow! I’ve seen that happen with teens and church too. A new church opens in town and suddenly some of the regular youth group members venture to that new exciting church. I’ve seen it happen with some of my own youth.
I’ll be honest and say that it hurt when that happened. It caused me to question what I was doing and how my ministry was working. I had to remind myself that change is part of the life of ministry. It also caused me to think about the importance of living a life surrounded by a church family and having roots in a community of faith. I owe a lot to the church families I’ve been blessed to be a part of as a youth and as a youth minister.

The church I grew up with taught me the importance of living a devoted life to Christ. I still remember sitting on the floor as a youth listening to the older woman talk about their faith during WMU meetings. Growing up in that church taught me the value of serving the Church. I was blessed to have tons of adults who lived out that example as my youth leaders and Sunday school teachers. That church also taught me what it was like to have true friendships with people who were older than me. The mentors I had as a youth are some of the greatest relationships I’ve had.

The churches I’ve served on staff have also impacted my life in a great way. They showed me real grace when I made mistakes as a young minster. They helped give me the space to take chances and follow God’s call even when I didn’t always understand how or what that meant. They loved and welcomed me as a member of their community despite my newness. They showed me what Christian community was truly about. I’ll always be indebted to them for these lessons and so much more.

Maybe one of the greatest lessons I can teach my youth is the value of a life spent in church. That value of putting down spiritual roots. I want them to know that church is more than a place you come to have fun or to see your friends. I can teach them that church is the place you live your life. It’s the place you find lasting relationships with people who are older than you. It is the place you celebrate major life events and live out the mundane parts of life too. Church is a community that will love you, have your back, and pray for you. It’s a place where you are more than just a member, you are person that is cared from and called to care for others. Let’s all strive for lives that are fully connected to God and each other. Let’s devote ourselves to a life spent in church.