Set the Trend

This week, our youth program celebrated the opening of their new Four12 Youth Center. If you have not seen it yet, make your way there and see what Youth Director Tag Grisham and his team of volunteers, along with your financial contributions, have created. The very large room has been segmented into various uses, with areas for food and coffee, video games, table tennis and foosball, and teaching and conversation. The center is both warm and inviting, yet has a cool vibe – a very attractive place for our youth and their friends to gather and get to know each other better as they seek to know the Lord more fully.

As Tag has explained, the name Four12 comes from 1 Timothy 4:12, where Paul tells young Timothy, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” These areas of behavior – speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity – provide the base upon which our youth are to show themselves an example. As Tag has made it Four12’s “tag” (pun intended) line, “Set the Trend”. Let us set all this in its scriptural context.

In 1st Timothy, Paul is writing to his younger cohort, Timothy, whom Paul has left in Ephesus to help oversee the church there. As Timothy’s mentor, Paul writes to give instruction on church organization, the behavior of its leadership, and how its believers are to navigate through a fallen world. Specifically in chapter 4, Paul is advising the young Timothy that there are going to be troubling times, and even though Timothy is young, as an overseer (pastor, elder, bishop) of the church in Ephesus, he is to be an example, set the trend, for the believers there. Paul encourages Timothy in three specific areas:

  1. Nourish yourself in God’s word (verse 6)
  2. Train yourself in Godliness (verses 7-9)
  3. Mission – why we labor (verse 10)

In verse 11, Paul tells his younger brother to “Prescribe and teach these things.” Further, in verse 15, Paul directs Timothy to “be absorbed in them”. Finally, in verse 16, Paul says, do these things, and you will “ensure salvation for yourself and those who hear you”.

The instruction given to Timothy was given to one in church leadership, but is applicable to all believers. These points were made to Timothy so that he may serve as an example to others. By extension, those of us who are “others” are to learn from and emulate that example. How inspiring it is to us that our youth have accepted the responsibility to be that example. To set the trend. Let each of us follow the example of our young people in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Let us be absorbed in God’s word, Godliness, and our mission. Let us join with Four12, and Set the Trend.

~ Hudd ~

(Kevin Huddleston is an Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek Church in Branson, MO)

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