I have to be honest, I didn't make this up, but I kind of like it. I've noticed that many churches have begun using the phrase Next Gen to combine what we have often called Children's Ministry and Youth (or Student) ministry. As you probably figured out, Next Gen is an abbreviated form of "Next Generation Ministry." I like it for a couple of reasons. It ties together children's and youth ministry in a way that helps us think more holistically. But it also reminds us what is at stake.
What is really at stake is the matter of where the church will be in a generation. In fact, at the risk of sounding dramatic, the question really is, will there be a next generation of Christ followers here in the US? I'm not an alarmist, but I think we would be naive to not recognize that there are forces at work in our world that would desire to lead this next generation away from Christ. There are those who are investing significant time, energy and resources in an intentional effort to marginalize Christianity and ultimately remove it's influence from our culture. And they are wise enough to know that the battle will be won or lost with our children.
This past Sunday we celebrated Children's Day at our Sandown and Plaistow campuses (Amesbury will do the same in a couple of weeks). If you were there, you know it was awesome. It was fun and engaging. The kids felt loved and appreciated. The whole day set the tone that kids matter here.
Going forward, I believe we must act on that ideal, 'kids matter here'. I believe we must invest even more of our time, energy and resources into raising up a generation of young people who know, love and serve Jesus. We already have a great team working with our kids and I am grateful for every one of them, but they need our support. I would ask each of you to look for ways to support, encourage and serve along side our Next Gen leaders and our young people. I implore you to lift them up in prayer every day. Most of all, each of us needs to be listening for the whisper of God and His directing to where we are gifted to serve.
Even though the school year is winding down, we are already beginning to prepare for special summer outreach events and for an expanded fall program. If you can help in any way, please feel free to contact any of our Next Gen site leaders: Lisa Post in Sandown, Glenda Maglio in Plaistow or Chrissy Rupp in Amesbury. I believe God has exciting things in store for us in our Next Gen ministry. It's going to be great!