When you read Acts 20:7-12, it tells the story of a young man known as Eutychus. He sat near the window at the third storey in an upper chamber where people were gathered to hear Paul preach. As the sermon prolonged and Eutychus was overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third storey. As a result, he was taken up, dead. Nonetheless, Paul (empowered by God) raised the young man from death.1 Thus, he was able to live once again. It is interesting that this young man’s presence was finally recognised by those in attendance at the gathering, once he had died. Therefore, having read this narrative, it is logical to ask the question why? Why is it that someone could not ask this young man to come and worship with the rest of the congregation? Why is it that it took so long for those at the gathering to eventually notice this boy? Why is it that it took the death of Eutychus to finally let them know of his existence?
It is ironic that, like Eutychus, we also have young men and women who often go unnoticed until something happens to them. To be more specific, these are the teens in our church. In an article by Jennifer Moore, entitled, ‘What Are the Top Ten Problems Teens Are Facing Today?’, she lists the top ten problems facing teens in the UK as the following:2
One teenager, faced with family problems, stated:
‘My parents have recently split and I’m about to do my GCSEs in a few weeks. My dad walked out but still wants to see me, but I don’t. Has anyone been through anything similar or got any advice? I’m so anxious and stressed. As it is, I don’t know what to do anymore.’3
Another teen faced with challenges in school elucidated: ‘I have anxiety and I worry about the smallest things in lessons, like stomach rumbling and swallowing too loud or coughing; and I’m worried it’s only me. Does anyone else get it or have advice?’4
These are examples of the various challenges that are faced by the teens, including those who are part of the church. As a church, we would do well to be proactive in the lives of our teenagers, as parents, pastors, elders, youth leaders, and the older generation in the church. This is so that, when faced with problems, we are able to provide assistance and support before those difficulties become worse. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we ‘can do all things through Christ who gives us strength’. Consequently, our teens need to be empowered and helped to know that, irrespective of whatever difficulties they may face, they can overcome them through Jesus Christ.