In the parable of the talents, there is an important warning showing us that we all need to use the talents we have been given.
In Matthew 25:24-29 Matthew 25:24-29  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are an hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strewed:
 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: see, there you have that is yours.
 His lord answered and said to him, You wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed:
 You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury.
 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents.
 For to every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has.
American King James Version×Jesus Christ said of the unprofitable servant, "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.'"
This scripture and others demonstrate the need for God's children (whether young or old) to serve however we can. But it is difficult sometimes to know where we can serve. Let's consider ways that young people can serve in their local congregations.
In some congregations much of the necessary work is done by people who are elderly. Here, young people can most definitely help. But which duties?
When we think of how we may serve in local congregations, speaking is often the first thing that comes to mind. And while the greater need is in other areas of service, a special need may arise here. Some congregations have youth days, where teens or young adults lead songs, give the opening and closing prayers and possibly even the sermonette message. For young men, these occasions can be very useful to serve the congregation.
As for music, both young men and young women can serve in the choir, accompany hymns or perform special music, if they have the ability and the interest. There may also be opportunities for young people to serve in teen Bible studies and Sabbath school. In these areas young people can help teach lessons and provide positive examples for younger people to follow.
The above duties are some of the more visible ways to serve in the congregation, but they are not all. There are many duties that are not as visible and that are often neglected. These may include running the sound system (if one is technically qualified for the position), ushering, greeting, setup and take down, helping with potlucks and other activities, information table or bulletin board, announcement bulletin, Web site and security.
Even if we do not have much knowledge in an area, if we are interested in serving, experienced people will probably be glad to show us how. I know from experience, since as a teenager I served on the setup crew in my local congregation as well as an occasional usher. When I went to college, I helped out with the security for the church hall when it was necessary.
If you desire to serve, there will be ways for you to do so. Of course, there are additional opportunities to serve at the Feast of Tabernacles. Young people can also serve on the staffs of summer and winter camps. Young adults can also serve the Church at large by participating in the United Youth Corps or by attending Ambassador Bible Center. All of these opportunities allow teenagers and young adults to hone their attitudes and skills for service.
Setting an example
In the local congregation we should be good examples for others to follow. Whether we like it or not, adults (our parents, their friends or leaders in the congregation) frequently watch what we are doing and how we are conducting ourselves. Instead of fighting against this, why not set an example of serving faithfully? Our service can be a valuable demonstration of our faith and knowledge (James 2:18 James 2:18Yes, a man may say, You have faith, and I have works: show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
American King James Version×).
We can also be positive examples to others outside of the Church. We do not have to wear our faith on a shirt or a bracelet, but rather demonstrate it quietly through our good conduct. If we are acting in a right way, people will see some of our religious beliefs without our having to tell them, and often peer pressure will be reduced. Of course we will have to be true to our beliefs—a decision each individual will have to make for himself or herself. Whether in the Church or in the world, our practice can be a positive example to others, for our actions speak louder than our words.
As a young person, do not be afraid to ask others how you may serve. Also ask your friends in other areas how they serve in their congregations. They may have new ideas or advice to share that can be helpful. As long as we are willing, there will always be ways for us to serve. VT