If you’re new to ABC, it won’t take you long to realize that ABC loves kids! Our church family has always placed a strong emphasis on reaching and teaching the next generation for Jesus Christ. Because of that, we offer some of the finest staff and volunteers, resources, and facilities to the youngest ones who walk through our church doors. In the coming weeks, you’re going to see a dynamic summer calendar filled with great events, many of which are designed specifically for kids. These events will include staple programs such as our vacation bible school, student beach camp, and pre-teen camp. But you’ll also discover lots of new exciting things sponsored by our ABC Kids and ABC Student ministries. You’ve probably also heard that we are expanding our day preschool this coming Fall to make it a fully licensed 4-day ministry to our community. “Little Lights Preschool” will help nurture and teach the youngest children in our area, and we’re confident that it will shine light into homes all across Austin. I’m thrilled to pastor a church that is committed to raising champions for Jesus Christ and devoted to making the necessary investment to do so. But perhaps the greatest investment we could make as a church family is to teach the next generation how to serve.
Every year new studies come out that communicate the same disheartening news: most high school graduates simply stop going to church. That reality has led to conversations filled with countless proposed answers to the most obvious question, “Why on earth is this happening?” While I acknowledge the answer to that question is multifaceted, I would dare say one major reason young adults leave the church is because they never learned how to contribute to the church. Many children across our country are taught that their only job at church is to receive. They aren’t specifically told that, but their programs are specifically catered to their needs, all the work is done for them, and they simply have to show up and absorb for 18 years. While I do firmly believe we must pour into our children, I also believe our children have to learn how to pour out themselves. Regardless of our age, God has given every believer time, talent, and treasure to be used to build up His church. Even our youngest believers have spiritual gifts that God has given them to serve the bride of Christ (1 Peter 4:10). That’s why we had kids serving with their parents and leaders last weekend at ABC Serves. That’s why we have teenagers help lead our kids every Sunday in our children’s worship program, Elevate. And that’s why this Sunday we are going to have our first ever “Student Weekend” here at ABC
This Sunday our student ministry is going to “take over” the church. We’re going to have youth serving as greeters and ushers, we’re going to have a student choir in both services, and we’re going to feature talented student singers and musicians. Students will help lead us in prayer and in the various platform assignments. We are even going to have students share their testimonies in worship and in a few of our bible fellowship groups. After each worship service, dozens of students are going to serve our church family lunch at our Super Summer Spaghetti Spectacular luncheon. As you can imagine, a lot of work has gone into making this Sunday happen. I want to thank our Student Minister, Nathan Wood, for his outstanding leadership these past several weeks. The efforts of Nathan and his team will provide a special moment in the life of our church as we watch our students boldly serve and lead our family of faith.
When you see these students this Sunday, I encourage you to thank them for their service, and serve them by being their biggest cheerleaders! It takes a lot of courage for even an adult to step up and serve Christ which is why these students are so remarkable. As you may remember, Timothy was a powerful young Pastor in an established church of Ephesus. He had a big job ahead of him to lead the church, but Paul charged him to not shy away from his calling as a young man. Instead, Paul said “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Join me in praying for these students as they set the example this weekend for all of us. Come to church ready to worship and ready to learn because Jesus says we all should take notes this Sunday: “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).
God bless you and your family and I look forward to worshipping with you on this special Student Weekend.