Youth Day takes place in various Christian churches and denominations including the Baptist Church. Typically Youth Day is an annual event in which members of the congregation's youth put on a service that includes music, skits, collecting the offering and delivering a sermon. Youth Day provides a pillar of support for young people who want to get in touch with their spirituality and form closer bonds with their congregation by applying their creative talents to honor God.
Keeping Children Close to God
Youth Days typically has a theme designed through the collaborative efforts of church leaders and youth. Churches like the Second Nazareth Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, select themes that youth members are instructed to center their service around. One year they chose Matthew 22:36-38 as the inspiration -- a Bible verse that instructs people to love God with "all your heart" and to honor the first commandment above all others. On the Second Nazareth Baptist Church's website, Pastor Johnny Ray Noble's addresses his youth members stating that the theme is something to focus on for the rest of the year and he encourages them to base their daily lives around the message.
Make Children Feel Belonged
Church can feel like a pretty big place, especially through the eyes of a child. Children may not be able to comprehend everything the minister says in the sermon, and some children may even feel bored having to sit through one. Church leaders understand this and want children to know they are valued. For example, Pastor Johnny Ray Noble states on his church's website regarding Youth Day that church leaders and members are cheering children on as they grow in their "Christian walk." Youth Day highlights this, and directs the spotlight on children, making them feel like important and vital members who truly belong in the congregation.
Youth Day is celebrated as a way to foster creative and artistic skills in children and give them a platform for using those skills to praise God. Emmanuel Fellowship Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas is one example of a church that encourages creativity through Youth Day; their young people formed "praise dance" and mime groups to honor the Lord. Often praise dancers and mimes use interpretive movements to illustrate anything from God's grace to specific acts recorded in the Bible like David battling Goliath. Engaging children through a creative outlet perks their interest and helps them gain more enjoyment from their church activities.
Many, but not all Baptist churches, celebrate Youth Day as a way to develop leadership skills in their young members. Youth Day can involve games that often require team captains. This is also a time when plays, skits and other modes of entertainment are performed by children in the church. Learning lines and understanding a role holds a great deal of responsibility, and kids with larger speaking parts and bigger roles can help younger children learn their parts. Older children involved in these "helping roles" can get an early dose of leadership skills that may inspire them to take leadership roles in future activities and in life.
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