My favorite things about road trips are the surprises along the way, and my most recent trip didn’t let me down. I stopped in Chattanooga, Tenn. and fell in love with the people. One person I met learned of my association with The Voice of the Martyrs, and she enthusiastically told me about what the youth group at her church, Woodland Baptist Church, was doing. As she described it, my excitement grew. Here was a group of youth who are passionate for the persecuted church.
Fast forward to one week later…
The crowd watched him – a teenager – walk to the front of the room. He stuck out, an obvious interruption. But he wasn’t alone. Fifty-one other people followed him.
Standing side by side on the stage, they stopped. “I’m not ashamed,” they said. Single cards hung around their necks. Each teenager carried the name of one of the countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith. Nina Stephenson, a church member who shared her personal testimony of persecution, had already pointed out the desperate need of the persecuted church.
“Today God is calling us to pray for the persecuted church, for those who know Him and love Him, who are not ashamed to say like the apostle Paul, ‘For I am not ashamed, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes,’” Stephenson said. “That declaration of faith could cost them their lives, their freedom, their family, their home or their job. But they stand firm in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The teenagers led the congregation in worship, singing “O Church Arise.” Afterward, the astonishment of the audience was apparent. Some clapped. Others cried. The apparent passion, the sudden awareness of what is happening to Christians around the world, caused a tremendous reaction.
Are you inspired?
Share the message of the persecuted church with everyone. The youth in your life – specifically teenagers, who often are stereotyped as indifferent and lazy — can do incredible things. For the persecuted church, they can pray and write letters. They can also tap into resources you might not have. They can tell their friends at school or work. With grandparents, mentors and parents who constantly boast of their teenagers’ most recent activity, youth can reach more expansive social circles. These young adults have no limitations. Through their creative presentation, the youth at Woodland Baptist Church not only spread awareness within their congregation, they probably opened the eyes of people they will never meet.
Now, it is your turn to follow their example.
[2 Timothy 1:7-12]