Summary: Paul encouraged Timothy in his demanding service with these words and set forth an example for him that would lead to success and leadership.
• Let’s look at 1 Timothy 4:12-16 and see what charges there are for you, Brent, our youth workers, our Church and our youth.
1Ti 4:12-16 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
• Today, more than at any other time in history, young people are looking for examples and role models.
• Youth are looking for direction about many things but especially in ways they can develop their character.
• Paul gave Timothy guidelines in this passage for everyone who wants to know how to minister to youth, or even to minister as a young person.
• He saw the need to give people the foundation to live their lives from a biblical perspective.
• Today we live in a world where most young people get their perspectives from TV, movies, music or their peers.
• However, this simply leaves a deep soul-hunger for deeper meaning, one we can supply as a Bible-believing Church.
Illustration: George Lawton captures many young peoples’ attitudes in his list of guidelines for meeting adolescents’ hopes:
1. Stand by us, not over us.
2. Make us feel we are loved and wanted.
3. Train us by being compassionately firm.
4. Bring us up so we will not always need you.
5. Try to be as consistent as possible.
6. Say, "Nice work," when we do something really well.
7. Respect us, even if you don’t agree with us.
8. Give direct answers to direct questions.
9. Show interest in what we are doing.
10. Treat us as if we are normal, even when our conduct seems peculiar to you.
11. Teach us by example.
12. We need fun and friendship.
13. Don’t laugh at us when we use the word "love".
14. Prepare us to lead our lives, not yours.
15. Permit us the failing of average young people just as we permit you the failings of average parents and youth leaders!
• The better a youth worker understands the problems youth face, as well as their needs, the better they will be able to understand and relate the biblical message to them.
• By keeping in touch with young people by being a good listening, one can learn to enhance the effectiveness our communication.
• It all begins by being an example in the following five areas:
1. Be an example in serving Christ at your age.
• Timothy could easily have been discouraged by those who might have thought he was too young or inexperienced to Pastor.
• But it isn’t necessarily age or experience that determines our successes in God’s work.
• A young shepherd king, David, wrote, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High." (Psa 46:1,4)