Monday, July 14, 2014

Not whiz bang events. Not the latest game-boy. Not pizza and soda.  Nope. Reaching the next generation with the good news of Jesus cannot be done with gizmos and games.

   The clear and overriding message from each of the leaders at Annual Conference 2014 – addressing the NextGEN theme – has been that developing relationships with children, teens and young adults is the most important aspect of sharing the gospel.  It doesn't hurt to arrange for fun activities, no one aims for boredom!  But those activities must be designed by and engaged with adults and young adults who care, really care, about the people with whom they playfully interact for Christ’s sake.
   Currently, several life-giving, life-changing, community-building Christian camps are being offered by NCC Camps (Sky Lodge and Heartland).  One highly-relational way to invest in the nextGEN is volunteer to be a camp counselor, to drive kids to camp, to help at the camps in any way.
   Many churches offer VBS, Back-Yard-Bible-Clubs, Kid’s Days, Family Fairs and other summer time activities geared to blessing children and their families. These only work as well as the volunteers who come along side such efforts and invest in the lives of children and youth.
   Sunday School, Children’s Church, CYC, Awana, MOPS and nursery programs are the bread-and-butter of developing the character and spirit of young hearts in our connection.  These only work as well as the volunteers who take time to invest in the lives of children and youth.
   Joining or creating after-school tutoring programs, assisting in sports and recreations movements, being a “Big-brother” or “Big-sister” invests in the lives of youth and children.
   How are you investing your life in youth and children? It is hard. It takes time, effort and sometimes money. Sometimes, if we are old we are tired and feel our time is up.  But the kids needs you or there will be no kids – and no church before long.  Sometimes, if we are young, we feel we don’t enough knowledge or skill to offer.  But the kids don’t need knowledge or skill – they don’t even know it when you make a mistake and are the most forgiving crowd in the universe. But they will thrive on your attention and care.
   Let’s get involved with the nextGEN AT SOME LEVEL now. Or it will be too late.

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