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Summary: When a young person has something to give, we should accept it, bless it, and immediately begin to look for a significant role in the church for them.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

Dear Pastor,

I want to thank you for taking the time to teach the Pray21 principles of Believe, Belong, Become, and Be from your pulpit during the next few weeks. As a pastor myself, I know how dedicated you are to accurately teaching God’s Word, so I have worked hard to make sure these outlines are biblically correct and culturally relevant to the battle your church faces today. At the same time, I admit that I do not know your congregation, so please make adjustments as needed to feed the flock entrusted to your care.

There are a couple points I would like to discuss with you briefly that are crucial. Honestly, I didn’t know how to address them in the outlines without having an intimate knowledge of your congregation. I was concerned that if I made these points, I might weaken the primary purpose of the four messages; therefore, I simply want to highlight them for your prayerful consideration and implementation.

You are going to find that Pray21 sermons deal primarily with the young people and youth ministry in your church. These messages place the emphasis on adults learning to see youth differently; but truthfully, many of the adults in your church are going to see themselves in the content and context of Pray21. This campaign is about helping followers of Jesus Christ (regardless of age) find their place in his cause and their role in his church. You know as well as I do that too many believers still do not know who they are even after decades of being in the church. Pray21 is an opportunity for the church to help youth and adults recognize and respond to God’s voice in their life.

While it is my fervent hope that your congregation will learn to see young people in a new light and embrace the mentality of youth in ministry, there is mutual benefit for all ages from this mission. As you and the adults in your church begin to believe in young people, they will begin to believe in themselves. At the same time, adults are going to be learning more about themselves. Be prepared to make this point in each sermon.

The need is great and the time is now. Take the time to make these messages personal to all ages. I already believe they are, but again, I want to leave those additional teaching points to your prayerful discernment and pastoral discretion. Apply this message to all generations – everyone is looking for a breakthrough.

Because of Jesus,

Timothy Eldred

Executive Director

Christian Endeavor International

Feel free to call me personally. I can’t wait to hear your wisdom! 800-260-3234.

Pray21 Week 2: Belong

Message: When a young person has something to give, we should accept it, bless it, and immediately begin to look for a significant role in the church for them.

Notes:

1. Focus – Jesus is looking for followers, not “fully formed and perfect non-sinner types!” He is just waiting for us to take our first step.

2. Main point – we must learn to affirm the first steps we see young people take in the right direction. We must give Jesus time to shape the lives of people who come into our Christian fellowship—including those born into it.

3. The Pray21 Discovery Guide gives many examples that can be used for the sermon. Read and choose the one or two examples from Part 2 that speak the most to your heart to use in the message.

4. Combine these with examples from your life of how you found out you belonged to God and how you found your role in his church.

5. Have others give similar short testimonies—both youth and adults.

6. Leave time for prayer with the young people in the service. Break into small groups and pray with youth by name.

Outline:

1. The first signs of spring.

a. You have been praying for God to do something in the life of young people and yourself. He will. Be patient.

b. It’s like looking for the first signs of spring. Everything may still be covered in snow, but when the first blossom appears or the trees start budding, you can be certain that change is happening and more is coming.

c. The first signs of spring in young people are when they begin asking how they can help, or how they can be a part, or giving ideas for how to do church better. Even if they are angry at the church, anger is a sure sign of caring. Don’t run from youthful anger. Embrace it. It’s a sure sign of spring. (Can you think of other signs of spring?)

d. The first change may be small indeed. No worries. Like the coming of summer, they will slowly warm as they see God at work in our lives and increasingly in their own lives.

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