Youth, discovery and spiritual gifts: Defined (Part 2)


<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>
Assisting Youth to discover their spiritual gifts and enrolling them to serve in: Introduction (Part 1) Julius Malema

He certainly grates my carrot. Is Julius Malema still youth? Click image to enlarge.

The word ‘youth’ is culturally ambiguous isn’t it? The modern Jewish rite of passage marking the transition between late childhood and early adulthood is recognised at 13 (think Havah Nagilah, Hora and Bar mitzvahs) (Wikipedia 2009a, b, c). The amaXhosa of the Eastern Cape enter the bush as abakwetha (initiates) to later undergo ulwaluko (circumcision) between 14 and 25 (Wikipedia 2009d). For me the shift from child to adult was acknowledged at 21 when I received an oversized key from my parents at a birthday party as a symbolic gift. The ANC Youth League recognises anyone under the tender age of 35 as ‘youth’ (23rd National Congress 2008:9).

Because culture doesn’t give us definitive guidance regarding who youth is we should set parameters ourselves. 13 to 18 seems a logical scope. Children of this age generally have senior education in common, they’re not quite old enough to vote but are certainly old enough to stand accountable for their actions and most Western churches regard 18 as the minimum age required for full membership.

Differentiating between age groups is not a modern invention. Paul, writing to Titus in chapter 2 says,

1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be…
3 Older women likewise are to be… 4 so that they may encourage the young women to…
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;” [emphasis added] (Titus 2:1 – 6, NASB)

Want to hear the verse in context? Titus 2
What is this about?

In short Noah Webster describes this generational group as, “The part of life that succeeds to childhood; the period of existence preceding maturity or age; the whole early part of life, from childhood, or, sometimes, from infancy, to manhood.” [emphasis added] (Webster 1913:1676)

<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>
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