GOING TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE
Now we come to the matter of gaining the young people. Every church must go to the young people. In any field the future is with the young people. If an industry or a school does not gain young people, that industry or school has no future. This generation is the generation of the young people. However, this does not mean that we do not appreciate the older ones.
There are three reasons why we must go to the young people. The first reason is that the young people are not occupied. It is best to contact young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty. During these years they begin to understand things, but they are not occupied. Therefore, we must seize the opportunity to gain the high school students and the freshmen in college. When many young people turn eighteen, they are eager to leave home. This is the right time to gain them for the Lord’s recovery.
The second reason for going to the young people is the fact that so many young people are gathered in the schools. No other age is gathered together like this. Because the young people are gathered in the schools, it is easy to contact them. In order to catch fish, you must go where the fish are.
The third reason is that it is easy for the young people, especially those at the end of their teen-age years, to have a change in their mind, that is, it is easy for them to repent. (To repent means to have a change of mind.) If you present something solid, worthwhile, and interesting to young people, they will take it.
For these three reasons, every local church must work on the campuses. Those who engage in this campus work should be young, the younger the better. It is difficult for someone more than twenty-seven years of age to talk to a person seventeen years of age. It is better that we work with those in our own age group. If I went to work on the campuses, no young people would want to talk to me, because I am an old person. But if I were a young person, it would be very easy for other young people to talk to me. Therefore, we should not send the older ones to work on the campuses.
However, the older ones, those over twenty-seven, should not think that there is nothing for them to do or that they should retire. An army has more personnel than just the young soldiers. The entire church is a fighting body. But this does not mean that everyone must go to the frontier to fight. Rather, we should send the young ones to the frontier and let the others work in the background. For example, the older ones can spend much time in prayer. But if we asked the young people to stay behind and pray, it would be very difficult for them. It would be like interrupting a basketball game and asking the players to pray. Because their heart and interest are in playing basketball, the players would find this very difficult. Even while they are praying, they would be eager to dribble the ball. Instead of asking the young people to stop and pray, we should pray for them. We need both a playing team and a praying team. The young people should be the playing team, and the older ones should be the praying team. But we are all one Body. If you ask me to stay home to pray, I will be very happy. For me to pray at home is enjoyable.
(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)