October is recognized in The Bahamas as National Youth Month. Every year, we choose a time to celebrate and honor our youth for their accomplishments. The month consists of several events including the famous youth march and national awards ceremony.
Sometimes, we forget and overlook the great accomplishments of our youth because of the exponential rise in crime and violence among youth. While we must do everything to stem the tide of violence and crime, it should never be at the expense of overlooking the amazing accomplishments of our youth.
Every year at our church (Bahamas Faith Ministries International), we put the youth front and center for this month and the display is always amazing. But I must say, this year has surpassed all others. We have seen our youth take over and produce two entire services including leading worship, moderating the service and preaching. Yes, the children and youth were the singers, dramatic artists, video producers, and actors and preachers.
This should be the focus of youth month nationwide. We have talented, brilliant, excellent young people who will very soon be the leaders of our nation. Our focus should be on preparing them and releasing them into their destiny. I have come to realize that the years ahead of me are much less than the years behind me, so my role is no longer to be a player, but to be a coach. My job is to prepare them and cheer them on from the sidelines while they make the headlines.
Across the nation, there are many others like me who are coaching young people into their destiny. The problem is that there are not enough who have stepped forward. So many of our youth are falling through the cracks and succumbing to the trap of the streets. I encourage each of you reading this to consider what contribution you can make that would save some of our youth and give them a chance at future success.
The situation is dire in many respects because as a parenting coach, I have come to realize that the majority of our young people do not have stable homes and in fact as much as 70 percent do not have a father present in the home. This is a potentially disastrous situation, unless others step forward to fill in the gap. You do not have to be an expert to make a difference; all you have to do is be willing. I have prepared some resources to assist those who are ready to step forward and very soon, we will be announcing a national initiative to this end.
We must remember the words of Jesus when he said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” and “Do not hinder these little ones.” He also said, “Unless you become as a little child, you will never see the kingdom.” These are reminders of how much God values the little ones. If he values them, then we must value them also. We must value them enough to assist them into the kingdom as Jesus said.
For the rest of this month and beyond, please engage a young person. Have them over to your house for a barbecue or a meal, say encouraging words to them, give them some inspiration to succeed. Be careful of passing judgment before you have built a relationship. They need to know that you care and are willing to help wherever you can. Sign up for something – whether it is to be a coach, a counselor, an inspiration or motivation to young people. You can do it. Your country needs you and God needs you to make a difference.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.