“I’m next!” That’s what we used to call out as kids when you wanted to get in the game. Nowadays it’s used for all sorts of pecking order activities, and many times it’s phrased, “I’ve got next!” Not only does the person want to play next, but they know that they’re up to the challenge. So, it’s said with attitude, with confidence. “I’ve got next!”
I want us to apply that term to the church. We’re all getting older, hopefully wiser, and many of us are at that legacy age – when we start thinking about what legacy we will leave for the next generation. And depending on the state of your particular church, you may or may not see much hope. In fact, when you look at the state of the world, you may not see much hope coming from our young people.
But according to a Pew Research study, most teens share the same religious affiliation of their parent or guardian. In fact, almost half (48%) of teens say that they share the same religious beliefs as their parents! And you thought they weren’t listening! The study goes on to say that 77% of teens experience a strong feeling of gratitude, and most teens say that they have a personal spiritual experience at least once or twice a month, mostly feelings of joy or thankfulness. Church, parents, take heart!
A whole generation will serve him;
they will tell the next generation about the Lord.
Young people are looking for hope as well. And they are finding that their faith is what helps them to get through life. Our youth are not lost; they are searching. Parents – teach your children about your faith. The faith of your own fathers and mothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, the faith that was instilled in you.
You see, when one generation passes the teachings of Jesus to the next generation, what you’re really telling them is, “You’ve got next!” Then they will tell future generations (their children, grands, friends, etc.) about the Lord. And each generation will make the proclamation: “I’ve Got Next!”
They will come and tell about his saving deeds; they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.
Do we see disturbing things on the news? Yes, but remember, for every young person shown doing bad things, there are so many others who are doing good things that don’t get on the news. They’ve got next – the young boy who raised money to buy tents for the unhoused. They’ve got next – the Greta Thunbergs and Amanda Gormans whose voices raise awareness and lift our spirits. And right here at Green Trails, the children and youth who sing, play, and serve for the Lord! Yeah, I would have to say that the Church is in good hands. Why? Because they’ve got next!
Join me this Sunday as we continue the sermon series based on our vision for 2022: Exalting God, Encouraging All, Empowering New Generations! This Sunday’s sermon, They’ve Got Next, will talk about how we can empower new generations to be lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ.
And - wait for it - we will celebrate a baptism for the first time since the pandemic hit! The next generation is coming on strong! Join us in-house at 10:00am, or you can also join us online. For online worship go to www.umcgt.org.
Ash Wednesday Service will be observed on March 2 at 6:30 pm. We will have two opportunities for the imposition of ashes – during Porch Drop (11:00-1:00 that day) or during the evening service.
Bible Study is on break until March 9 when we will begin our Lenten study: Be Still. This study will take us into some spiritual practices that help us to be still and draw closer to God. I hope you’ll make time for it, perhaps as your Lenten sacrifice to the Lord.