There should be no greater concern that occupies the attention of a young man as he goes into adulthood than his calling to take his place in the church. Therefore, it does us good to consider what is appropriate in that preparation. We must keep in mind that for young men that calling will be one of leadership. That leadership may be to a greater or lesser degree; for he, as a covenant husband and father, must lead his family, or, the LORD may call him to lead as a deacon or an elder in due time. The LORD may even direct that covenant man to be a minister of His Word.
What then should be the necessary preparations for this full service within the church?
First, I believe, is that absolute necessity of personal union and life in Christ (John 15:4). This is the foundation upon which all the other areas of preparation are built; yet, as we labor in all these other areas, we must never forget it.
Second, I think it is essential for a young man to obtain a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and the doctrines taught in them. In our Protestant Reformed Churches we are blessed with systematic preaching Sabbath day by Sabbath day. We also have our catechism classes for children which follow a wonderful set pattern of learning the Word of God and the doctrines of the church. All this is further strengthened by systematic Bible teaching in the Protestant Reformed Christian Schools. Not all of us have had such schools wherein to learn. Sadly, my own children do not. We should highly value our Protestant Reformed Schools. Due to all these things it is relatively easy for sons born into Protestant Reformed families to obtain this thorough knowledge. But do we pursue it with a joy and longing? Do we endeavor to grow in that knowledge and to retain it so it will strengthen us in life ahead?
Third, sons of the church should seek to become well read in good Christian books. Time can easily be spent in the many entertainments of this world, some of which are not necessarily wrong, but they often take the youth of the church away from reading. Time should be set aside to pursue a reading program which would bring into focus and make clearer the things learned from the Word of God.
Fourth, a good knowledge of church history is very important for our young men, especially how that history affects the doctrine and life of the church. This should be part of their reading program. We live in a period of history in which we can learn so much from those of the church who have gone before us; but there is much ignorance of church history.
Fifth, young men should endeavor to become well grounded in the errors of the other beliefs and doctrines. Knowing what others believe, why it is wrong according to the Word of God and what is the right teaching concerning these matters are absolute basics for us in the world today. Not only will this keep enlightening us as to what we believe, and show us that what we believe is Scriptural, and teach us that all the things God has revealed in His Word stand together, but also, it will enable us, as members of our Protestant Reformed Churches, to bear testimony to the things God has given us in His Word. Truly, God has given us a high calling, unworthy as we are of it; yet, we must make known the truth, for we have the clearest manifestation of it. From one who came from outside the fellowship and life of the Protestant Reformed Churches, I can say that we have a wonderful beauty to declare, although few will see it.
Sixth, the sons of the church must learn to be able to talk and communicate with each other. Communication is so important in the church that not to communicate denies our fellowship together. So, our young people must strive to develop this.
Patterns developed in youth under God’s blessing, are easily maintained in adulthood. So we must labor now to prepare foundations in all these ways, so that when called to various duties in the church, we will be ready.