Our youths, the future leaders of our nation and churches, are to arise and be positioned by God to lead. Learn these important principles from young King Josiah’s life.
This generation of youth has great potential. But there is also a threat that such potential may be finally lost. The enemy will seek to destroy this generation and its potential; thus, the work of God in this generation is of critical importance. We, as a church, must perceive what is going on our society.
As we spot youth leaders who are won over by their vision for this generation, let us help them come into the divine positioning of God where God could use them for His great purpose.
The Bible speaks of a young king named Josiah, from whom we can learn four important principles, which will arm our youth leaders to take on their divine position to lead.
Youth leaders must break out of religiosity
2 Chronicles 34:1-2 says: “Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left.”
Josiah was appointed as the king—the leader of his generation. It was his heritage and right, but he chose to follow the Lord and do what was right. It would have been easy for him to follow the steps of his father, Amon; or his grandfather, Manasseh. These two kings did evil in the eyes of God, though they were kings of Judah.
Our youths today loathe religion. They do not want to be simply preached at. They may not follow leaders who just tell them what is right and wrong, what to do and what not to do. Religiosity leads to legalism; legalism to death. They yearn for a spiritual knowledge that connects them to God; leaders who are broad-minded to relate to them and involve them in the issues of life.
Youth leaders must break out of familiarity and dryness
2 Chronicles 34:3 says: “In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David.”
Josiah was 16 when he started seeking the Lord like King David. He broke away from the familiarity of his faith: what people were taught to encounter the true God of Israel. Similarly, the youths of today face a unique challenge of being too familiar with God. Many are second-generation Christians; whose parents experienced the great moves of God in Singapore in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
However, our youth must break out of familiarity with God (or treating God casually), and embrace Him as a real and personal God; not relying on the experiences of the first-generation Christians.
Leaders, in particular, ought to experience this in order to impart this life to their followers—those who are seeking a deeper meaning and depth in their faith. Leaders should live a life of passion to break the familiarity and dryness that slowly causes our faith to ebb away.
Youth leaders must break out of complacency and compromise
2 Chronicles 34:3 says: “In his twelfth year, King Josiah began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, Asherah poles and idols.”
At the age of 20, Josiah began purging the land of idolatry. This was the key in turning the hearts of the people back to God again.
Once we begin to deal with the idols of our hearts, this spiritual cleansing primes us for God’s mighty works. On the other hand, when we become complacent in our walk with God by letting our guard down and opening ourselves to compromise, we allow the devil to gain a foothold in our lives.
Complacency and compromise are the twin terrors of spiritual decay, especially among many youths. Many of them are quick to revel in their experiences, and then their faith begins to stagnate. Compromise comes in every shape and size, and stealthily pulls us away from God. These are the very dangers that cause many youth leaders to jettison their commitment and credibility in ministry!
Youth leaders must break out of apathy and indifference
2 Chronicles 34:8 says: “In the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign, he sent Shaphan; the son of Azaliah; Maaseiah, the ruler of the city; and Joah, the son of Joahaz, the recorder, to purify and repair the temple of the Lord his God.”
The next thing Josiah did was to rebuild the temple of God. It was in disrepair; and many kings, priests, and people alike had learnt to live with it. It was an attitude that truly breaks the heart of God. Today we may not have a dilapidated concrete temple; yet the attitudes of apathy and indifference persist in our lives, which then pervades the church culture.
God is looking for a generation that is ready to commit to hard work; to break out of self-centeredness, self- focus and self-preservation; to give themselves to a higher calling and purpose of restoring a generation, which the devil is destroying systematically. This generation of leaders must redeem a culture of honor and reverence to our God, and rewrite a legacy that can be passed on from one generation to the next.
Youth leaders ought to break out of this apathy and indifference, and take ownership to fight for this generation and to make their lives count.
As youth leaders begin to break out in these areas, there will be a godly positioning. This will prepare the church to see a mighty move among the youths of our nation.
I want to encourage every youth leader: You are sowing seeds into a generation that will have many raised up to impact the world. Do not let the challenges or circumstances that you face hold you back. With God’s anointing in your life, break out of the enemy’s traps, and go forth in your calling as leaders of this generation.
About Rev Gerald Tan
Rev Gerald Tan is the Senior Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God (Singapore), and an executive committee member of The Assemblies of God of Singapore. A passionate preacher with an apostolic-prophetic anointing, he has a heartfelt desire to raise and release people to fulfill their God-given destinies. He actively ministers locally and globally, speaking into churches and leaders. Rev Gerald is married to Audrey, and they have two children, Davian and Evanny.