Many of you who joined us this past Sunday know that the Northside Youth Group successfully completed Teen Camp 2021. This year, due to the events of 2020, our theme was “Unify”, and we learned all the different ways that a Christian should be unified despite the division we see in the world around us. Our key verse this year was Romans 15:5-7 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ. 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
Our teens have watched a lot of division take place, not just in the world, but also in the church. This week was meant to remind them of who they are in Christ Jesus, and remind them of the eternity waiting for them after all of the imperfect earthly kingdoms have passed. We focused on the specifics and the breadth of division in this world, and on the part each of us have in the Body of Christ. We heard and meditated on how we can be unified through purpose, love, and even through weakness as believers.
We started every day with guided personal meditation all by ourselves surrounded by God’s creation. We ended every day with songs of worship and praise for the God who changes hearts and makes all things new. This event was the pinnacle of our summer, and a much-needed respite for teens that are taking on too much anxiety in an increasingly confusing and divided world. Now that they are back, I pray that as mature Christians we can be an example to them of what these biblical concepts of unity look like.
Ephesians 4:3-5 tells us; “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
To the adult believers at Northside, who might disagree on several things in our current divided climate, there is something in this verse that our young men and women desperately need to see. If I could ask one thing of our members for the sake of the future of the body and our new believers in Christ it would be to make “every effort” to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
I know we disagree; I know there is evil lurking and ready to pounce. I am aware that there are forces conspiring against believers, and I am aware that our lives on earth are most likely going to become more difficult. Please remember, we have eternity waiting for us, and God has already won the war.