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Investing in the Next Generation

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INTRODUCTION

Saving money as a kid
Investing in the next generation is the same way.
(representative number of hours in a child’s day)
As a parent, I need you the teachers and coaches to invest in.
Time at church
2-4 hrs/wk
10 hrs/ month
312 hrs/yr
Parents have a certain amount of influence, but over time that becomes less and less.
All together (parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, church members)
168 hrs/ wk
168 hrs/ wk
168 hrs/ wk
700+ in month
700+ in month
700+ in month
8,760 in yr.
8,760 in yr.
8,760 in yr.
Time at church
2-4 hrs/wk
10 hrs/ month
312 hrs/yr

TRANSITION

Between parents, grandparents, teachers, faculty, coaches, and the church we are covering almost every hour of a child’s day.
Think of the influence upon a child’s life that is held in this building today.
Investing in the next generation…how are we going to spend those hours?
We must spend them on what counts the most.

EXPOSITION

Today, we are going to look at what it means to invest in the next generation
Read .
Investing in the next generations means...

1. We should let children see Jesus. (vv. 13-14a)

EXP: “Little children”- a child was considered between the ages of 0-12, but likely small children here (v. 16).
People brought their children so Jesus could bless them-
People brought their children so Jesus could bless them- perhaps to pray or speak over them regarding having good health, a long life, blessings from God, etc. People wanted their children to meet Jesus.
Something amazing always happens when you meet Jesus. Do you remember when you met Jesus?
Say point 1
APP: As parents, church leaders, and community leaders, we should want nothing more for children than for them to see Jesus. In our actions, in our teaching, the way we treat them. We should let children see Jesus in us.
We should bring our children to church. Sometimes parents worry about their kids acting up in service, while we do want to teach children, kids will be kids.
ILL: A lady took her four-year-old granddaughter to “big church” for the first time. She sat quietly taking in every aspect of the service and her attentive curiosity stayed in check until the pastoral prayer. The pastor said, “We thank You, Lord, for Your presence.” The little girl’s eyes flew open and she whispered to her grandmother, “Granny, we’re gonna get presents!”
APP: Kids are going to be kids, but we must let them see Jesus. While they may not understand everything today, by letting children see Jesus, we are building a foundation for and investing in their spiritual future.
Proverbs 22:6 NIV
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Prov.
EXP: “The disciples rebuked them”- the disciples turned the parents away, almost like bouncers or bodyguards. They thought Jesus’ time was more valuable than to spend with children. Society had a low view of children in this day. While parents loved them, of course, the opinion toward children was that they were to be seen and not heard.
APP: While parents and leaders today love children and want them to succeed. I’m afraid that sometimes we can have a similar attitude toward children when it comes to spiritual matters.
Adults are tempted to value their own spiritual development over their child’s spiritual development. Parents bring children to church, perhaps only for free childcare and to have a break. Children’s leaders are seen as babysitting only, and as a task for those who aren’t ready to do real ministry.
But Jesus believes otherwise (he was indignant at the disciples). Jesus knew that children are important and children should be brought to see him. These parents understood the importance, but the disciples didn’t.
In this situation, are you more like the parents in this story, doing everything you can for children to see Jesus in your place of influence, or are you more like the disciples thinking there are more important things to do?
There are plenty of distractions in our world, trying to keep our children from seeing Jesus. Your children need you to do everything you can to bring them to him.
We see, investing in the next generation begins with letting children see Jesus.
Read v. 15
As we invest in the next generation, we find that…(Say Point 2)

2. We can learn from children. (v. 14b-15)

Read vv. 14-15
EXP: “The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”- Jesus isn’t primarily talking about children being saved, I do think he may be expressing that as a secondary point here.
APP: Statistics tell us that people are more likely to accept Christ before the age of 13 than at any other point in their lives.
ILL: The current Barna study indicates
One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. Less than one out of every four born again Christians (23%) embraced Christ after their twenty-first birthday. Barna noted that these figures are consistent with similar studies it has conducted during the past twenty years.
before the age of 13 (43%),
(64%) before age of 18.
TAKE A POLL OF CONGREGATION TO SEE AGES OF SALVATION.
The main point Jesus is teaching, is found in verse 15...adults must be like a child to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
JOKE: Some of you wives may think your husbands have that down perfectly.
“like a little child”- children are dependent on adults for everything.
APP: My children come to Hillary or me for almost everything.
For help physically, be it food, clothing, or shelter. Or things like...Can you open this? Can you help me with this? Can you show me how to do that? Can you do this for me?
For knowledge…They ask ”Why?”
We are their providers, protectors, guides, teachers, examples, and role models.
ILL: A young pastor in Ohio also worked at a feed processing plant in order to make ends meet. Each night when he went home, his boys would look at him and say, “Boy, Dad, you sure are dusty!”
He would grumble to himself, but then smile and say, “Yes, I sure am dusty.” One Saturday morning, as he was washing his car, he looked over and saw his oldest son, 4 years old at that time, begin to pick up small stones from the driveway and rub them onto his pants.
The father asked, “What are you doing?”
“I want to be dusty like you dad,” came the reply.
As the pastor was telling the story he said, “At that time, I realized that if a son would look up to his father for being dusty, he would look up to dad for anything.”
That is how we must be when we come to God. We must look to our heavenly Father as our provider, protector, guide, teacher, example, and role model. When we have faith like a child, humility, and total dependence upon God, that is when the kingdom of God is realized in our hearts.
APP: How is your faith in God? Are you dependent upon Him for everything? Have you turned total trust over to Him?
Present the Gospel.
Recap…we have seen that we should let children see Jesus. We can learn from children. Finally we see that investing spiritually in the next generation means...

3. We should bless the children. (v. 16)

Read v. 16
EXP: “He took them in his arms”- Jesus went above and beyond. They brought them so he would “touch” them. He took them in his arms. He loved them and wanted to even more than what was asked.
APP: We should do everything, above and beyond, to ensure a bright future for our children. Most of us have no problem wanting this and desiring this for children.
We want to go above and beyond for them to have a good education, be good in sports, be successful, have loving families, good jobs, nice houses, and live happily ever after. We will go to great ends to help them achieve their dreams. But where does having a growing relationship with Jesus fit into our picture of our children’s futures? We go above and beyond in everything else for our children, but what about when it comes to Jesus?
As a parent, how are you going above and beyond to show children the love of Jesus? As a grandparent? A teacher? A coach? A counselor? A bus driver? A Sunday school teacher? A deacon? A church member?
I’m thankful that we have a wonderful community here that values children and sees their importance.
Wonderful parks, places to grow, wonderful school facility and staff.
I want you to know, as Pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church, we are committed to investing in the next generation. Our vision is to see children come to know Jesus and to be a blessing to them and their family.
We believe that children aren’t just the church of tomorrow, they are the church of today. Because if they aren’t here today, they likely won’t be here tomorrow.
We must do everything we can to help children see Jesus and love coming to church.
Announce plans for kids:
Help children hear, learn, obey God’s Word- new children’s ministry season kicking off Aug. 12 (new Sunday night groups, new Wednesday night curriculum your children will love.)
Be a place that children love to attend- update and refurbish preschool and children’s building (new paint and new furniture).
Be a resource for parents in their roles as primary spiritual leaders of their homes.- parent workshops, seminars, and Bible study groups, and providing resources on an as-needed basis throughout the year.
Be a resource for children’s ministry leaders in their roles as spiritual leaders of children in the church- providing oversight, necessary resources, and as-needed training to equip you to serve children to the best of your ability.
But that’s just the beginning. We have more exciting possibilities regarding our reach to children coming in the next month or two.
Why must we do all this for children? Look at what Jesus did when he took them in his arms… (v. 16)
EXP: “He blessed them.” Jesus wanted to provide a blessing for them. He spoke words of encouragement and blessings over their lives, perhaps for health and prosperity, but most certainly for them to stay close to God.
We are to be a blessing for children as well.
ILL: The late Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken) was on an airplane when an infant screamed and would not stop even though the mother and flight attendants tried every trick they could think of. Finally the Colonel asked if he could hold the baby. He gently rocked it to sleep. Later a passenger said, “We all appreciate what you did for us.” Colonel Sanders replied, “I didn’t do it for us, I did it for the baby.”
Colonel Sanders replied, “I didn’t do it for us, I did it for the baby.”
We must invest in the next generation

CONCLUSION

How can you invest in the next generation?
Parent, teacher, grandparent, sunday school teacher.
How are you investing spiritually in the next generation?
Direct influence (pray for them, give toward various ministry opportunities for children, serve children, use teaching as a way to invest, become the parent God called you to be.
Indirect influence (pray for them, give toward various ministry opportunities for children)
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