“Why weren’t you at CK/CKS (CERC’s youth group meeting) yesterday?” Does this question sound familiar? Have you asked this question before? Been on the receiving end of it? Or, has asking (or being asked) this question become a thing of the past, especially when it has become a norm for a fellow youth (or for yourself ) not to attend CK/CKS, such that a surprised ‘What brings you to CK/CKS today?’ becomes the more appropriate question to ask?
Asking and receiving such a question is important, for it expresses a care for each other’s spiritual well-being, and provides us with a measure of accountability to each other. It is part of the admonition to “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phi. 2:4). We are concerned that our fellow youth is unable to make time to attend CK/CKS, which we recognise is of tremendous spiritual benefit for us, and genuinely want to find out why he or she is unable to do so. We hope to provide a listening ear if necessary, and cannot wait to share what we learnt the day before about the exciting truths of God’s Word.
If you are a CK/CKS youth, I especially ask that you read through this article to the end, so that we may briefly recap the activities of the past year, be reminded of the purpose of CK/CKS, and do a little reflection together.
For the benefit of all, Covenant Keepers/Covenant Keepers Senior (CK/CKS) is the youth group of CERC, with youths aged 13-16 for CK, and aged 17 and above for CKS. We meet an average of three times on various Saturdays in a month, typically for a workshop, Bible Study, and outing.
Workshops: In the past year, for workshops, we finished up the series on the seven churches of Revelation, and are currently continuing our series on church history. We covered the history of the PRCA and CERC. It was extremely exciting to learn this recent church history, and the speakers did a fantastic job making it come to life, allowing us to relive past days which happened before we were born, or went by as we lived in oblivion. We were given a glimpse into the struggles of the church in her defence of the truth. Above all, it was a timely reminder of the providence of God in preserving His church through the many controversies which threatened to wreck and swallow her up. It was amazing to learn of how, at many crucial junctures, God used the power of a single vote to preserve His truth in His church.
Bible Study: We also continued our Bible study in the book of Genesis. We learnt about the wickedness of man in the pre-diluvian period and the tiny remnant of the seed of the woman. We learnt about the prophetic significance of Methuselah’s name given to him by his father Enoch. We learnt about the swift and violent judgment of the flood, and how eight souls were saved by water. We learnt about God’s covenant made with Noah and the creation, and His promise of salvation. Once again, we were richly blessed to be able to delve into the riches of God’s Word in Genesis, which sets the stage for the great drama of sin and salvation through the seed of the woman.
Outings: We also had many fun outings, including cycling, a tree top walk, a session of kickball, and an excursion to Trampoline Park! Above all, it was the opportunity to spend much time in fellowship with one another which proved the main highlight, at least for me.
Why did we come for these activities? Or, perhaps a better question: why should we, as CK/CKS youths, come for our youth group activities (whether we have been coming or not)? Let us explore that next.
Origin and Purpose of CK/CKS: CK/ CKS is part of the organic life of the church, as all societies are. It is not something commanded by God for the church to have, but is something voluntarily created and maintained by all the youth of the church – and not merely by a single committee. It is created and maintained as a response to the preaching, as we grow in our knowledge and love for God’s Word, and also in our love for our fellow saints. As the chief means of grace, the preaching works in our hearts an ever greater zeal for God’s Word, such that we cannot rest content hearing it only twice on Sunday – we simply must study it personally during the week, and also look forward to meeting up with our fellow saints to study God’s Word together. The preaching also works in our hearts an abounding love for our fellow saints – we want to spend more time in their company than those brief hours on Sunday would allow us. We want to discuss God’s Word together not merely for self-benefit, but also for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that we may provoke one another unto love and good works.
Thus, CK/CKS is formed and maintained, as it allows us to do just that. Bible Studies, workshops, and even exhortations during outings are opportunities to hear God’s Word taught by a speaker, and also to ask and answer each other’s questions. Sharing with each other the time spent with one another discussing God’s Word, and playing sports allows us to know each other personally, form and develop lasting friendships. As we grow in our love for the truth, we cannot help but grow in our unity which is founded upon the truth we love.
Importance of CK/CKS: Studying God’s Word together and enjoying blessed fellowship amongst fellow saints – these make CK/CKS so important and dear to us. But perhaps a factor that underscores its importance, and highlights the urgency for us as youth to be active members of CK/CKS, is that we have precious little time outside of Sunday to study God’s Word together and to fellowship. Many of us do not get to see each other much at all – during the weekdays, we are busy with school, homework, and CCAs. Many (though not all) of our classmates in school are unbelieving, or ‘Christians’ who put Christ’s name to shame. We receive so much ungodly influence and teaching from the public school throughout the week. CK/CKS then becomes something of a relief, something to look forward to when the weekend comes. It is a spiritual oasis in the desert of the world and we come to find rest in God’s Word and sweet communion amongst fellow saints. It is a huge blessing for a church to have such a youth group. Do you view your youth group with such importance?
Now is the time for a little reflection. Where have we found ourselves over most of the Saturdays in the past year? Were we at CK/CKS meetings, whenever they were held, or were we elsewhere? Can you identify with the activities listed out in the ‘Recap’ section, because you attended most of them? At the beginning of a new year’s worth of CK/CKS activities, it is a good time for us to pause and reflect. We shall revert to the singular person as each of us undertakes this reflection. Looking Back: Do I place CK/CKS as a priority to attend? If I do, is this reflected in my regular CK/CKS attendance? If I claim that CK/CKS is a priority for me, yet I do not find myself attending activities often, am I not acting according to my priorities?
Perhaps it could be worthwhile to examine some activities which take away my CK/CKS attendance: (i) Busy with school work/CCAs. (ii) Work during my school holidays. (iii) Fill in your own reason. When I am actually free from all these, do I then find myself attending CK/CKS regularly? If I still find myself not attending CK/ CKS regularly, are any of the listed reasons really the root reason for me not attending CK/CKS, or are they just excuses that I use to justify myself to others? (Note: this exercise is for us to reflect, nor to justify our non- attendance to others.) If they are just excuses, what then is the root reason?
Even if I do not attend only due to those listed reasons, are they really reasons for which I ought not to attend CK/CKS? Am I prioritising spiritual things if I choose to focus on those at the expense of CK/CKS attendance?
Perhaps I do not place CK/CKS as a priority to attend anymore. If so, why do I not? Perhaps I recognize that CK/ CKS is spiritually beneficial, yet other factors have made me not want to prioritise CK/CKS attendance: (1) I have no friends in the church. (2) My friends do not attend CK/CKS. (3) The activities are boring.
Regarding (1): Am I simply resigned to having no friends, or do I view continued CK/CKS attendance as a means of making friends? Do I have an entitled mentality that others have to always approach me? Or, do I also seek to reach out to others, to put in effort and build friendships? Am I willing to try again to make friends even if I have not succeeded in the past?
Regarding (2): Do I view CK/CKS as important enough for me to encourage my friends to attend it when they may not feel like doing so? Should my CK/CKS attendance really be dependent on whether my friend attends, especially if my friend may not seem very spiritually interested? By my actions, am I positively influencing my friends to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, or am I being influenced away from that?
Regarding (3): Do I make the effort to inform the committee of this, as a youth who is interested in and feels responsible for my youth group, or do I not really care anyway? Do I make the effort to prepare for activities and participate in discussions or do I merely sit back and let others make things work?
Looking Ahead: How can I work on being more spiritually minded in the year ahead? I recognise that I must be always growing spiritually, continually sinking my roots into Christ and being built up in Him (Col. 2:7). I also recognize that CK/CKS is a tremendous blessing and a means to help me grow spiritually. It provides me with an opportunity to learn God’s Word and to fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, which I have precious little time to do throughout the week. I want to make CK/CKS a priority for myself to attend! I am not going to wait and see whether I happen to be free on that Saturday before deciding whether to attend – I am going to make it a point to attend as many CK/CKS activities as I can, and even be willing to cancel other appointments which clash with them.
I recognize that it is by God’s grace alone that I am able to seek things that are spiritual, while my sinful flesh always craves the opposite and comes up with excuses to justify itself. Despite my new resolve to grow spiritually, and to seek CK/CKS attendance as a means to this end, I also recognize that I can easily fail and quickly lose my resolve. I must then constantly look to God for grace, for He alone can sustain me and grant me the required strength.
“Why weren’t you at CK/CKS yesterday?” Our motivation for coming to our youth group must not be merely to avoid being asked this question. What then is our motivation? A love for God’s Word, a desire to grow in it, and a love for our fellow saints. Oh, how we long to see one another, and to gather together to study God’s Word! The next CK/CKS activity cannot come soon enough.
Dykstra, Russell (1989). Our Chief Joy. Standard Bearer (Vol. 65, Issue 20), retrieved from http://standardbearer. rfpa.org/articles/our-chief-joy?keyword
Written by: Marcus Wee | Issue 41