This summer, many of God’s teens from around the world participated in Philadelphia Youth Camp, whether in Edmond, Oklahoma or Edstone, England—or, for a few, both. These youth camps are an example of the family-oriented nature of God’s Work and of the emphasis that God places on the importance of those of you reading this article—His young people.
God’s Work devotes a lot of resources to youth programs—to train God’s young people in the way that you should go (Proverbs 22:6). There are youth camps in America, England, Australia and the Philippines. There is Imperial Academy, which if you add online students, spreads around the world. There are music and dance programs. Each year, the Philadelphia Church of God sponsors the Teen Talent Contest where teens from all over the world can submit their artwork, writing, photography and more. Of course, there is Herbert W. Armstrong College, with both the Edmond and Edstone campuses. Even the Jerusalem dig is largely a youth project because students or alumni who have come out of Armstrong College are the majority of its workers.
True Education, the Imperial Academy Bible Lessons and the majority of the Church’s books and booklets have valuable information for God’s teens as well. One such example is this quote from The Key of Davidbook:
“Mr. Armstrong dedicated many resources to help the young people of God’s Church. He fully understood that young people (and adults) must be taught how to be God’s royalty. One of the ways we instruct our young people about being royalty is through our summer camp programs. This was a tradition started by Mr. Armstrong.”
Herbert W. Armstrong placed a big emphasis on reaching out to the youth in God’s Church, especially toward the end of his life. He established the Summer Educational Programs (sep), which were the precursor to pyc today. He established Youth Opportunities United, or Y.O.U. I was involved in many of those Y.O.U. programs myself during the 1980s. Of course, Mr. Armstrong realized back in the 1940s that in order for the Church to grow, the Work needed a college—and that was why he established Ambassador College.
As Mr. Armstrong wrote in his autobiography: “We reached the crossroads. This was to be the real test. Ahead, now, was the possible transition from a small, struggling, virtually one-man work to a major-scale organization exerting a powerful influence on humanity the world around! Ambassador College was to provide the only possible means. It was to be the recruiting and training center, integrating into effective organization those whom God would call to surround me—to become this Christ-led and Spirit-powered organism.”
In another spot in the Autobiography, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “The growth of the gospel Work has directly paralleled the development of Ambassador College! Without the college, the Work of thundering Christ’s gospel around the whole world could not have been possible. It could never have gone around the world.
“It was the development of the college in Pasadena that made possible the growth of the whole gospel Work!”
God works through human instruments, and as Jesus Christ says in Matthew 9:37, “the laborers are few.” We are a small Church in so many ways, and there is often a shortage of manpower. But we are also the most powerful organization on the Earth because we have God and His power and presence backing us up. God works through human instruments, however, and the more human instruments there are, the further the Work will go.
Therefore, in verse 38, Jesus Christ tells us to pray that God will send more laborers. And many times, God will answer those prayers by sending laborers through the youth programs within His Church. You—God’s young people—are the most important group of people that this Work can reach because it is by you that the Work grows the most!
Ambassador College began in 1947, and by 1950 and 1951, the school was already producing fruits. Here we are in 2017, and Armstrong College was established in 2001. Look how much the Work has grown! Back in 2001, the campus had only one building—the John Amos Field House. Since then, the campus has grown—along with the college, the student body and, of course, the Work! Now, we have a campus at Edstone, which has been running for 2½ years, and we have Philadelphia Youth Camp on both campuses!
In a Different Category
In 1979, Mr. Armstrong gave a sermon to the youth attending sep that year. In that sermon, he placed more emphasis on God’s youth than he ever had before. He told the campers—many of whom were your age—that the youth programs were going to be more of a focus in the Work than ever before. He was just beginning to understand the real significance of the fact that God cut off the entire world when Adam and Eve rebelled against Him in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24). The entire world, that is, except for the few in His Church. God opens the minds of those few, and they can understand His truth.
These few are not God’s favorites. They are called today because Jesus Christ needs a group of firstfruits to help Him with the Work He is doing. He needs a helpmeet—a wife—to raise the Family that is His and God the Father’s ultimate goal. That is what God has been doing during these past 6,000 years when man has been cut off from Him. He’s been bringing a few into His Church to help prepare them to assist Him in bringing everyone else into His Family once Jesus Christ has returned and Satan has been removed from the throne of the Earth.
Everyone will have their opportunity in the end, but only the few are called today, and they are called because of this Work. These few include one or both of your parents, and because of them, as 1 Corinthians 7:14 says, you are also put into a different category. While the rest of the world is cut off from God, you are not. You are sanctified—or “set apart for a holy use.” You’re being brought up in the way that you should go. If your parents are converted members of God’s Church, you have access to the tree of life—something no one else has! The way is wide open for you, through pyc, Imperial Academy, Armstrong College, etc., to grow in grace and knowledge and eventually be converted!
God’s teen are in a different category, and that was what Mr. Armstrong was stressing to those campers back in 1979. The children of converted members are meant to be a part of God’s Work—it’s a Family vision, after all!
Teaching the World
In Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, my father writes: “We will teach the world what God taught us through Mr. Armstrong—and a great deal more. God’s colleges will be established all over the world. Multiple millions of Church congregations will be established. We will fill this Earth with God’s truth!”
This plan is already in action today. It started with just one small college campus. Now there are two, and the vision is expanding. Soon, it’s going to fill the Earth. God is starting it all with young people. You are a part of this royal Family legacy. You are royalty—“princes in all the earth” (Psalm 45:16). You are preparing to rule. You are ambassadors for Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:20).
The leaders, diplomats, ambassadors and royalty of this world are going to weep bitterly in these end times (Isaiah 33:7). They have never been able to solve the problems of this world, so God is raising up a new royal administration—and that administration includes you! You are being trained now so that you can set foot into positons of royalty and responsibility as soon as the Kingdom of God is established on this Earth.
If we let God show us through this royal Family vision, we can know today what life will be like in that coming Kingdom of God—in the wonderful World Tomorrow—because we can live it today. We can experience it today—in God’s Church and in our homes and families. You can experience it at God’s youth camps, and eventually at God’s college. Then, one day, you will be teaching the world this God Family Vision, and you will be helping to make them a part of it.
The Most Important Group to Reach
In a 1984 co-worker letter, Mr. Armstrong wrote: “I want to say more about these summer sep camps, and the entire Y.O.U.program. I want you to realize what an important part of God’s Work this is. Our great commission is to teach all nations—teach Christ’s gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the Family of God into which God’s Church shall be born. God Himself is a Family—the God Family. These are children of members of God’s Church. They have access to Christ. …
“God’s tithe money, which you pay, brethren, goes primarily for preaching and teaching the gospel. Of all those we can reach, these youth of those already in the Church are by far the most important” (Jan. 15, 1984).
If you have the God Family Vision, you can see why you—God’s youth—are the most important group that God’s gospel message can reach. God is building a Family. He is a Family. He is reproducing Himself. And you are a part of that Family.
This is why God’s Work devotes so many resources to youth programs. These programs help further God’s Work and God’s plan for mankind. Throw yourself into them, and you’ll be a part of God’s Family for eternity.