Summary: Effective Faith development is done in the home and augmented by the church

raising up the next generation in the faith and then launching them into the world. No other action has more ability to change the world than teaching a child the faith. Do you remember the person who brought you up in the faith - the person who assisted in nurturing your faith?

When I think about the pathway to faith, I can’t help but think about the story of Ed Kimball. Ed was a quiet man who loved the lord and those God brought to Ed’s Sunday morning class. Ed always went the extra mile making sure the lesson was appropriate and memorable. He genuinely cared for the kids. On one particular Sunday, he noticed a newer student was missing from the class. He inquired from the other boys where he was. They told him he was at work selling shoes. Ed responded by getting his coat and heading down to the store after class. He found the boy working in the back room. In that conversation, Ed helped a young Dwight Moody come to know the Lord. But it didn’t stop there. D.L Moody brought another would be evangelist FB Meyer to the Lord. But it didn’t end there. F.B. Helped Wilbur Chapman to the Lord, who then converted the former baseball player Billy Sunday who then later brought Billy Graham to faith – who may have brought some of you to the Lord.

Today’s psalm is really but one example of the biblical mandate for raising the next generation in the faith and the kind of legacy we want to leave. Now, some will claim the world has changed. Our kids are busier. We can no longer anticipate that the message of faith is as attractive as it once was. Those kids have so much more to occupy their time. While I am sure we have more gadgets, I am just as sure we have the same amount of time. In fact, that’s why this beach ball is up here on stage. It really represents all the time we have, and for today, we would like it represent all our time for the year – 8760. If we subtract 12 hours of sleep each day for your child, the total shrinks to 4380 hours. The next ball represents the number of hours your child has after school studying or practice for 9 months subtract 2430, leaving 1950 hours) and the final is a marble which represents the time the community of faith has with your child (105 hours). On a percentage of their waking available moments, spiritual development in a church setting (Youth group, Sunday school or worship) that means just under 2.4% of their waking moments. The point I’m making is that if we state our commitment to the Next Generation is a value of ours then, how will we offer this alternative lifestyle to our children? Because the reality is, time in church or around church will most likely not produce a mature Christian. In fact, the Barna group, a research group on trends in the church, noted in a 2009 study that there is no correlating factor between Sunday school attendance and faith later in life. While they recognize that 60% of children brought up in the faith will return to the faith at some point in their life, church is not the determining factor – it’s helpful but not dominant.

The key factor in a strong and developing faith is how the parents demonstrate theirs. Faith building, discipleship really, is not an immediate event, it’s a process. Raising children to have a faith that sustains requires practice.

In the book by Geoff Colvin, Talent Is Overrated, “What Really Separates World Class Performers from Everyone Else,” the author proves that the greatest of all athletes combine internal drive with time in practice of the more important skills as the most distinguishing characteristic of those that separates them from the pack. Those who want to be good will practice twice as much on a skill development as the average player, whereas those choosing to be great will be take it 30% farther still.

So its drive, or internal desire, and time in practice that key to all development. So what does that mean or us who hold our commitment to the Next Gen as sacred or holy? How do we increase their desire to be in a relationship with the church? How do we define, and what are the series of actions, that develops world class performers in matters of faith?

The answer of course is simple but never easy.

1) We inspire it!

a. The church is the inspiration station. It’s the story of lives that change. It’s the place of instruction and equipping of the biblical mandates. (Ted Talk of Inspiration by LA teacher – Pearl Arredondo – Father High ranking Gang Member – Her story of being misunderstood – creating a different kind of story – pilot middle school that teaches students to be good communicators in the 21st century – May 2013 – TED education talks)

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