In FocusMagazine

faith in our children

ColKMaynorAutumn brings crisp air, back–to–school activities, colorful leaves crunching under our feet and all of the cozy trappings that welcome us home. And at The Salvation Army, it is also a time for new beginnings, as our children and teenagers flood the halls of our corps to attend an array of programs and spiritual development activities.

We’ve seen resurgence in our territory of our Corps Cadets and junior Soldier programs. From 2014 to 2015, our junior soldier attendance rose from 50,484 to 52,533 participants. And during that same time, Corps Cadets saw a similar increase, from 25,229 to 26,283 participants.

One expression of the Salvation Army’s faith is that we believe young people can be saved and can do something. We essentially are telling them, “Your life matters, and you can have a vital role in God’s kingdom!” We can never underestimate the human need to belong. These programs provide a worthwhile place for many kids, where they find meaning in their lives. The corps also becomes a place where they feel connected and learn to give back by serving and helping in numerous ways.

It is easy to see the value our youth programs provide for our children and for our teenagers. Embrace this season and all that it represents for renewed opportunities to engage our up–and–coming youngsters.

But now, the question is, what can you do to encourage them to keep attending and to get excited about what they’re learning? All of us need to take an interest in developing the faith of our children. Let’s follow Paul’s admonition and not look down on any of them because they are young (1 Timothy 4:12), but let’s cheer our young people on as they advance in their faith and relationship to God.

—  Kenneth W. Maynor, Lt. Colonel
Territorial Secretary for Program