Summary: Cultivating a Heart for ministry to children and youth.
Have any of you ever watched a relay race?
In a relay race the lead runner starts the race and when he finishes his first lap … he must hand off the “baton” to the next runner … timing is crucial in the transaction of the baton … as the lead runner is running … the next runner is waiting for the exchange so that he can continue the race smoothly. He begins to run so that the lead man hands off the “baton” in stride … this happens 2 more times as each man surrenders the “baton” to the next.
Track coaches will tell you that the race is either won or lost during the exchange of the “baton.” If either runner miscalculates the timing or fails to handle the “baton” the race will probably be lost!
Friend, we are in a season of “baton” exchange!
One interesting thing to point out before moving forward is that even though the lead person may pass the “baton” … he/she is still part of the team running … by encouraging and cheering his/her teammates on … You still receive part of the ribbon … even though you may not cross the line – You still win if you are on the team!!!
You see, I believe that there are many grandparents, parents, relatives, SS Teachers, and even pastors who feel as though we are losing the race … like we are messing up the exchange of the “baton” … and even that some of our kids are dropping the “baton.”
Josh McDowell has said repeatedly that he considers the number one fear of Christian parents today is that they will not pass on their values, their morals, their faith to their children.
As incredible as it may seem, research shows that "accepting Christ" and making a profession of faith today makes little to no difference in a young person’s attitude and behavior.
You have probably seen the statistics.
• Seventy-four percent (74%) of our Christian kids say they cheat on school tests;
• Eighty-three percent (83%) say they lie to their teachers;
• Ninety-three percent (93%) lie to their parents; and
• Sixty-three percent (63%) say they become physically violent toward others when angered.
Sixty-four percent (64%) of our young people believe that "if a person is generally good or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in heaven."
Today, I want to charge each of you to PASS THE BATON to the next generation!
Here is what else our kids believe:
• 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God;
• 58% believe all faiths teach equally valued truths;
• 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead;
• 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity;
• 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity.
• 70% don’t believe an absolute moral truth exists.
Friend, I want you to know that these statistics are not about non-Christian … non-churched kids … these are about our Christian cultured kids!!!!
And does any of this matter? We may prefer for our young people to embrace biblical beliefs, but what harm will come if they don’t? Research consistently shows that what a person believes translates into attitudes and behavior. The vast majority of our young people have distorted beliefs about Christ and Christianity. Those with such distorted views are:
• 200% more likely to be disappointed in life;
• 200% more likely to physically hurt someone;
• 210% more likely to lack purpose;
• 300% more likely to use illegal drugs;
• 600% more likely to attempt suicide.
We must transfer our values to the next generation.
We must pass on Biblical values to our children and teenagers.
We must equip them to live godly lives in the midst of an ungodly world.
Oh, there are going to be hindrances; the distractions of the world will be enticing, this track of life will be rough and hard, but we must pass the “baton.”
In a relay, we have a limited zone in which to make the transfer, and a miscalculation or hesitation in the passing of the baton will cost us the race for our children.
Passing the “baton” should not … it cannot happen when our kids turn 18 … we must pass this “baton” today … if we neglect to pass the “baton” we will be raise another generation of dysfunctional believers!
Deuteronomy 6 gives us some very basic instructions for passing the “baton” to our kids and youth.
In verse #1 we understand that Moses was instructed by the Lord to teach the children of Israel the rules and regulations.
In verse #2 we figure out that if these truths are taught and re-taught, future generations will know how to trust in God!