It was a roadtrip I had to take on my own. With the youth camp barely a month from now, it was a much needed meeting with the youth leaders of Region 1. So I volunteered to go, at the time when Kuya Do and the others were away on a conference in Malaysia/Singapore. Never mind that I had to commute there by bus for seven grueling hours, I was psyched that I was actually making this trip. On my own. For the first time. A rite of passage I was about to conquer.
And so I was in La Union. To be with our beloved youth leaders. I was not quite prepared for what awaited me. Most of them came from a church without a pastor. Some of them recovering from a recent church split. Most of them, without a discipler. And it broke my heart. To see how real their struggles were. Here we were, asking them to make disciples, when they barely know how to be one. It broke my heart more, to know that none was there to lead them. My mind was bombarded with a lot of questions. What happened to the older generation, the generations before them? Where are they? Why did they neglect the call to make disciples? Why do the present generation and the emerging generations have to suffer from their failure? No wonder our churches are dying. The church has forgotten its mission to make disciples. It dawned on me, how doubly hard it is for us to do our job of equipping youth for disciplemaking. Will I ever see the youth discipled, becoming true followers of Jesus Christ? My mind was racing as my heart grew faint.
But a glimmer of hope shines through. Although facing the same dilemma, some shared stories of how they have started their own discipleship groups in the campus. Some of them found disciplers, elders in the church who rose to the occasion because they were left without a pastor. And they face tomorrow with hopeful anticipation. God's grace abounds.
Sadly, the present generation of young people are reaping the neglect of their forerunners. The task of making disciples is made even more challenging because they have not been discipled themselves. They are left to fend for themselves. This is a bitter pill to swallow. Reality that is pervasive in most of our churches today. I turn to the youth leaders God has allowed us to encounter, and their spirits are that of resilience, desiring to obey whatever it takes. And I know, there is hope. All the more, I am fueled to remain faithful in this ministry, until the church returns to its call to make disciples. By God's empowering grace. Because that is how we grow.
I pray to see revival in our churches... to see Christ-transformed lives multiplying in others. For the sake of the emerging generations. I pray.