How to invite someone to Church
April 13, 2019
Firmly in that stage of parenting young kids (6, 4, 2, 1 on the way) it’s easy to feel like a failure.
Parenting kids, babies – teenagers, can be so exhausting. It is easy to find yourself in survival mode. It is so easy to take a step back when things get tough — I’m not talking to just parents here — Grandparents, aunts, uncles, bosses, coworkers, college, high school – anyone that has someone younger than them. Because when it comes to the next generation we all have times that we want to step back.
What is the next generation worth? Everything.
We are all in this together and have opportunities to impact the next generation.
Through this series we want to invite you to see the phases of a kid’s life differently…
A phase is a timeframe in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence a kid’s future.
It is so easy to see the phases kids go through as hurdles to overcome or seasons to endure.
When you see how much time you have left, You tend to get serious about the time you have now.
In fact Moses actually suggested something similar to this in one of the Psalms when he said: Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12).
There is something about putting a number to the actual weeks you will have with a kid or teenager that helps you be more wise about how you use those days and weeks.
So, does this mean you have to make every second count? Turn every minute into a teaching opportunity? Not at all. Two things that are both true at the same time: 1. Every week matters. 2. You don’t have to get it all done in a week.
All the weeks add up to do something collectively that is very powerful. This can actually take pressure off—realizing that you can’t get everything done in a day or week. All weeks are not even created equal. Some weeks will work better than others— some weeks are job security for my kid’s future counselor—but don’t panic— It’s not just time that matters. It’s TIME over TIME
You don’t have to make every second count, when you understand that what you do this week is connected to next week—and the next. You’re spending time with kids over a period of time.
“Because TIME over TIME is what enables you to make HISTORY together. Time/ Time = History
Have you ever considered how God used time?
Why didn’t God send Jesus as soon as Adam and Eve ate the fruit and sin and death entered the world? He could have resolved the issue then and there. But He waited. He used time. He spoke to a man named Abraham. Isaac. Jacob. 12 sons. He sent Moses to deliver a nation. He let a nation wander in the desert for decades. Have you ever thought about why?
It was as if God decided, “I can help you understand something with time that you could never really understand in a moment.”
There are aspects of God’s nature, secrets about life, that are so intricate they simply take time to understand. If a heavenly Father uses time to clarify and solidify certain values in our heart over time, then over time may be the best way to cultivate what matters in the hearts of our own children as well.
Think about it this way. Most kids don’t know that what you’re doing this week is going to be a formative part of their HISTORY. They are just kids. They only see NOW.
To them you just . . . Played legos. Read a story. Played basketball in the driveway. Saw a movie. Threw balls in the house when mom wasn’t home.
But you have the gift of years. You have a broader perspective. You see how yesterday, today, and tomorrow are connected. By being present in a kid’s life week after week in a variety of different ways you are actually making HISTORY.
There is a cumulative effect when you decide to show up and be present week after week in the life of a kid or teenager.
The problem is, you can’t always see the results. You can see the time, just not what it’s accomplishing. But there’s a reason you can’t see immediate results.
Choosing a salad over a burger and fries today won’t you make you look different in the mirror tonight or change what the scale says tonight. Theres a cumulative effect.
When it comes to kids and teenagers progress and results are even harder because character and spiritual health are hard to see.
The best thing you can do is choose to keep investing in what you can’t see. To keep being present for what is not happening. To keep trusting that time over time will do what God has designed it to do.
Time is the first thing every kid needs. Time over time creates history. That’s why you keep showing up. Time/Time = History
Love/Time: Now the second thing every kid needs is love. This one might seem a bit obvious. But let’s face it. LOVE is just LOVE. It’s a secondhand emotion—until you put it over TIME. Then it does something amazing. LOVE over TIME accomplishes something so powerful, we often miss it.
In Matthew 22 we see this brought front and center… “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Matthew 22:36
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your
4 mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:39
Simply put: Love Matters — Loving God matters. Loving yourself matters. Loving people matters. Actually, the Great Commandment makes several points at once about love.
You can’t love God without loving others and yourself. You can’t love others without loving God and yourself. And you can’t love yourself without love God and others.
And in your mind if you are getting opinionated about an overemphasis on LOVE, remember who said it. Just be careful you don’t minimize what Jesus maximized… especially in a kid’s life.
LOVE over TIME happens to be the best strategy to help kids know they matter. When you love them consistently. When you show up in their lives week after week to demonstrate to them that they are a priority to you. When you love them faithfully in spite of their behavior or their performance. LOVE over TIME does something amazing. Love over TIME is the best way to give a child WORTH. Love/Time = Worth
Here’s a point to consider. Kids need to learn to love themselves while they’re kids.
Kids desperately need adults who will love them in a way that will convince them that they are worth something when they are young. If kids don’t feel loved when they are young, they may never love themselves in a healthy way. And if they never learn to love themselves, what will that look like as they grow up and their world goes from simple to complex — So many things they thought were black and white start looking a lot more grey — they encounter the all messages and stress of being an adult?
The way you love kids while they’re kids can dramatically affect their future.
Most research seems to suggest the younger the recipient, the more powerful the impact.
Love is like investing. It gains shares. The sooner you start paying in, the greater the return will be later. The longer you wait, the less you earn. Simply put, deposits in someone’s life as a child will earn more interest. When you wait until they’re adults it’s still worth it, but the gains are just slower.
When you start imagining the future of a child, you will start investing more in them now. If loving a child early begins to build a healthy sense of worth, rejecting a child early can do the opposite.
One of the best ways to do that is to simply SHOW UP. Simply decide to be physically and consistently present week after week. And remember, kids will test
you—to see if you really like being around them and with them. They probably won’t believe you love them, if you never like them enough to hang around them.
The window of time in their lives as kids and teenagers is a key opportunity for us to give them the sense of worth and value they will need to face life as adults. The argument could be made that what you do for kids and teenagers is more important than what you do for adults. Showing up and loving them now will affect how they feel loved later.
Words/Time: We all have a tendency to underestimate the weight of our WORDS—However, we have probably had some experience in person or online where we can’t deny that words have power. Words have the potential to do as much damage as they do good. Love/ to hate. Encourage/ tear down.
What you say probably has more of an impact than you think it does. An early Christian leader named James (James 3) warns us that words are just like a bridle on a horse or a rudder on a ship. They are small things, but they have tremendous influence.
And when you put WORDS over TIME something even more significant happens. WORDS over TIME actually become a collection of messages that impact someone’s DIRECTION. Words/Time = Direction
Every time you speak, you are reinforcing or expanding their vocabulary. You are giving them words that will shape how they see the world, how they see themselves and how they think about God. Your words will help them imagine and understand the things they can’t see so they can keep moving in a positive DIRECTION.
WORDS shape who kids become and what they believe. If you want a kid to know they matter, then make your words matter. When you talk to them AND when you talk about them. The words you use matter. The words you use can set them up to feel significant, valued and unique. Or the words you use can unintentionally limit them, box them in, and make them feel trapped.
So, when you say something this week: Say it so it matters and say it so someone knows they matter. Because a few words can have a lasting influence that can impact the direction of someone’s life.
What is the next generation worth to you? What if chose to be people who step up and step in because the next generation is worth everything?
Time/ Time = History Love/Time = Worth Words/Time = Direction You won’t do any of these perfectly, but the small attempts and investments will add up over time.
It’s just a phase, so don’t miss it
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