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Investing in the Future

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Today I want to talk to you about the Next Generation.
We want to see our area come to faith in Christ and living for the Lord.

43% of Born Again Believers become Christians before age 13.

64% of Americans who Profess their faith in Christ do so by age 18.

To put it another way…

Only 15% of Americans over 18 ever commit their lives to Jesus.

One Study by the International BS, stated that only 4% come to faith after 18. Ether way...
If we don’t reach a young person with the Life Changing message of Jesus Christ before the age of 18, 85% of them will never accept Christ. If we don’t reach them by 20, the number goes up to 90% never will follow Jesus. 95,057 under 18 in JP/ 80,798 will never follow Jesus if we don’t reach them by 18. That’s just in JP. I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to stand by and watch 80798 kids go to hell.
Every Church Service we offer Children’s services. Nettie Prieur began that ministry for us and now Brittnay Poling is going into her second year as our Childrens’ Pastor.
Every Wednesday Night we offer a youth meeting. Our goal is to have these kids choose to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior and spend eternity in heaven.
Faith in Christ makes a difference in eternity, but also now.
Galatians 5:19–21 NLT
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:22–23 NLT
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
It’s important that we reach our children and teens.
“I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf.” Jim Cymbala
I want God to show himself mighty here at River Church… in your lives… in our teens lives and in our children’s lives.
“Once the door to the future opens, the door to the past slams shut. There is no turning back. It’s a new day, a new normal.” Mark Batterson
We are transitioning from a start up to push the pedal down on ministry here at River Church.
We have had volunteers who have rotated in there faithfully trying to reach these kids. They have done well and impacted these kids in a powerful way.
But today we will introduce George King, and his wife, Shantrell to you. George is our new PT Youth Pastor. George shared with us that he believes the Lord has led him to work with us. He already has been coming on Wednesdays to work with the kids. He has popped in on them at work and at home… This week he and Brittnay and Heather will be taking 9 kids to camp.
Pastor Kathy and I have been praying for a youth pastor. Obviously, after working with teens for 20 years, I have a passion for them to be reached. God’s timing is always right on time.
Our mission says we connect people to Christ and each other. this includes the Next Generation.
To do this, we need to:
To Reach the WB for Christ we need to:
Be committed to Jesus with all of our hearts.
Work hard where God has called us and placed us.
Build the Kingdom of God wherever we go every day.
We need to focus on the harvest - people are important.
We need to reach the next generation … even if we don’t understand them.

Core Value - invest in the next generation

Every sport and hobby is always trying to get young people interested in them so that the sports and hobbies will be carried on by the younger generations. The church needs to do the same thing so we can pass on our faith to the younger generation.
Just because we have a youth pastor does not mean we don’t need volunteers. We need Youth Sponsors who will help each week with the ministry and will help on trips and activities.
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

We must focus on the next generations.

55% of worlds population is under age 20
that’s over 4 billion people. 90% will not follow Christ if we don’t reach them before 20.
30% of the worlds population is under 15
Do you agree with me that Children and youth ministry is important.
ILL - our rental break-ins… teens looking for a place to smoke dope… if they were Christians, they would not break into my rental and smoke dope.
ILL most of our crime is done by people under 20 in this city.
Story of Joshua leading Israel across the Jordan River.
Joshua 4:1–9 NLT
1 When all the people had crossed the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2 “Now choose twelve men, one from each tribe. 3 Tell them, ‘Take twelve stones from the very place where the priests are standing in the middle of the Jordan. Carry them out and pile them up at the place where you will camp tonight.’ ” 4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had chosen—one from each of the tribes of Israel. 5 He told them, “Go into the middle of the Jordan, in front of the Ark of the Lord your God. Each of you must pick up one stone and carry it out on your shoulder—twelve stones in all, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. 6 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” 8 So the men did as Joshua had commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan River, one for each tribe, just as the Lord had told Joshua. They carried them to the place where they camped for the night and constructed the memorial there. 9 Joshua also set up another pile of twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan, at the place where the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant were standing. And they are there to this day.
God commanded that the stones be taken out of the river and placed where they were as a testimony to the next generations. They were a type of spiritual show and tell. They were to tell the story of God stopping the Jordan River while they walked across everytime they saw the stones.

We are to teach these things to future generations.

Here are nine ways we can impact the next generations.

1. Do all we can to make this church a place where the Spirit of God Lives.

When people come into our church, we want to do everything we can to allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.
We don’t want to hinder their receptivity to the Lord. That’s why it’s important that we have people to greet people as they come in and engage them, fill them up with coffee, and donuts… we want them to have a good attitude when they begin the service.
Youth Camps should not be the only place our students sense the Holy Spirit of God. Our students need to experience the presence of the Lord just as much here at these altars as they do the altars at camp.
We should not have to send our kids off to camp to be saved, or to be filled with the HS, or to be called into ministry. They should feel that leading right here.
Kids who have attended camps or conventions often are called into ministry or the mission field. I believe some of our kids will go into the ministry in the future. We want God’s power to be here in this church.
We adults need to show our young people that we want Jesus in our lives more than anything else.
I for one want this place to be a place where God lives and moves in people’s lives. It’s why we started River Church.

2. When God is moving, throw away your watches.

We exist to experience the presence of God, so let’s not be guilty of shutting him down. If an altar time goes longer and we don’t shut the service down and you have to leave, just slip out.
I remember a church were the youth were at the altar praying and the parents complained that they were going over. Thanks the Lord if your kids have a desire to pray… That’s what will keep them from alcohol, drugs and bad relationships.
When that happens here, we need to thank the youth Pastor.

3. Remember SCHOOL WORK OR ACTIVITIES are NEVER more important than having a young person commit his life to the Lord.

School work is important so turn off the TV and the Games and let them do their school work. That’s much wiser than not allowing them to attend a youth service or a n activity like Camp where they have a good chance of being touched by Jesus.
I have seen too many parents and grand parents who are crying over the lives of their kids and grand kids because they are not following Jesus. They regret not doing what I am telling you today.

4. Let the next generations see your excitement and love for the things of God.

Don’t allow the times God has moved in your life to be distant memories. Keep your relationship with the Lord alive and fresh. How long has it been since you were moved in the presence of God?
An excitement to follow the Lord is caught… not taught. The way for the younger generations to get excited about Jesus is to see that excitement in us.

5. Teach the Younger Generations what God has done in your life.

That’s why Joshua took the 12 stones out of the Jordan and pilled them up… to teach the younger generation.
Remind them of the things God has done in your lives… healed… free of shame… gave you a good parking place...
It will build their faith and yours as you tell these stories.

6. Live your Christian Faith in your home in front of your children.

Nothing is more confusing to a child than to hear one thing and see another. Let your life be a witness. Lifting your hands in a worship service and then cursing at home creates confusion in a child and turns a teenager off.
Never showboat something in church that you don’t live in private.

7. Be a faithful supporter of your church.

It’s hard to get kids to do something that you are not doing. We want to teach them to support the work of the Lord financially, in service and in the use of their talents.
Jesus wants total commitment.

8. Never punish your child by taking away spiritual activities.

Youth service, youth camp, etc.
That’s the dumbest thing you can do. You are taking away the very thing that will make a difference in their lives… that will make them obey you more, be better students…
It doesn’t work when you do.

9. Two four letter words that take more kids out of church than others: cars & jobs

Kids have to have a car so they can go to work. They have to go to work to pay for the car.
Be careful. Monitor these. don’t let either keep them from being part of growing their faith in this church.
IILL - when I was a teen if I wanted to drive my car Monday through Saturday, I had to drive my car to church on Sunday.
FACT - The church loses more kids between the ages of 15-18 than any other time. B/C their peer group changes.
When asked where they go when they have a problem, 72% of kids said their friends… that’s why peer group is important. It’s also why we have to monitor and steer who our kids are hanging out with.
God directed Joshua to pile up 12 stones to show the next generations that God was alive and well… that he is real and did an incredible miracle right there on that spot.
Here at RC, we invest heavily in our young people … both children and youth. We must teach them about the awesomeness of God. So today, we take the next step.
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