A healthy church has a beautiful mix of old and young and thereby of wisdom and of vigour. One challenge of such a situation is for the old to handle the young aright. This is particularly the case for elders handling younger ones in the church who have a desire to accomplish much for the Lord.
When younger ones appear with ideas for moving forward for God, it is easy for elders to see the naivety and even danger of such plans. Upon such discernment the inevitable response is to reject the scheme and thereby pour cold water upon the fires of the zealous young heart. This is a little bit like Eli in 1 Samuel 3 who took some time to realise that the Lord was actually speaking to Samuel. The first two times that Samuel came to him he said ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ ( 1 Sam. 3:5b).
Such a continued response gradually leads to the younger ones getting despondent and they fade away. And that is a dreadful shame. Older ones need to be careful how they respond to the zeal of youth. In such a situation they need to encourage, support and guide. The zeal may not be directed in the wisest way, but failing to work and to direct such zeal is just not good enough.
How many zealous young christians have given up because older ones, particularly elders, have relentlessly rejected their schemes. Oh how elders need to have wisdom in these things.