How a Community Can Launch its Kids

8402_10200932844870242_211848675_nOn Sunday I shared with you three things I think are key in raising and launching kids from our faith community.

The first key I shared was alignment. This is simply where our values line up with our actions. Kids pick out incongruity and hypocrisy like little magnets. We need to ensure that if we are going to have any influence that our values line up with our actions. So often we end up asking our youth and kids to value something we don’t practice. So to ensure this doesn’t happen I challenged everyone to ask this question often: are we living what we are asking? So are we living with grace? Are we living with integrity? If we want our kids to grow up serving, caring, reaching out, and changing lives – it needs to start in our lives.

The second key I gave was ownership. There is currently a move to deeper and deeper outsourcing. You can outsource your marital fights online now. The trouble is that as you outsource things you are giving responsibility to another party or group. And in the case of our youth, they matter too much to ever outsource their development to the school system, social workers, daycares, or even to our local youth pastors. These things are all good and valuable as supports and professionals; but supports and professionals are never a substitute for engaged parents and caring communities. So we need to own our personal responsibility in raising the kids entrusted to our care. Therefore, each Christian needs to ask “how can I contribute to launching our kids well?” What can you do to ensure the next generation thrives and succeeds? Can you be a mentor, can you give your time, your resources, your care and love? If we are to launch our kids well we need to own our responsibly in raising and launching.

And the last key to launching our kids well was that we need each other. The truth is that the world teaches our kids that living for money, self-satisfaction, or happiness is important and fulfilling. Unfortunately this isn’t the gospel. The gospel is that living for others, and living for something worth dying for is the reason to live. Stanley Hauerwas puts it this way: What we do when we educate kids to be happy and self-fulfilled is to absolutely ruin them. Parents should say to their kids “what you want out of life is not happiness but to be part of a worthy adventure, you want to have something worth dying for”.

And this is why we need each other. We need a faith community that practices and demonstrates what this type of life looks like. We need new role models, and heroes. We need everyday ordinary people who follow Jesus in the reality of their lives. We need each other. So I ended with encouraging each person to share their story of why they find following Jesus compelling, how they are doing it, and what they are learning. Because if we are ever going to be a counter-culture to the world of fame, wealth, and self-interest, we will need to share our stories.

So those were three keys: aligning our lives with Jesus, owning our responsibility, and working as a community. There are surely others, and things you might add. But I think it’s a pretty good start. But if you were to add anything what would it be? Because this is a conversation worth having…

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Launching the next generation requires: alignment, ownerships, and togetherness.

Take Aways…

  • We have all been influenced by parenting for good or bad
  • If you are a Christian you are a parent – modeling, and living an example for the kids around you
  • Christians, single and married, are parents. “Parent” names an office of the Christian community that everyone in the community is expected faithfully to fulfill. Stanley Hauerwas
  • Three Keys to Parenting: Alignment, Ownership, and Each Other
  • Alignment: Having our values line up with our actions
  • Are we living what we are asking?
  • Our youth need role models…they need you
  • Ownership: Taking responsibility rather than outsourcing
  • Our kids matter too much to give our responsibility to raise them away
  • Each Other: To create a community that makes faith real
  • What we do when we educate kids to be happy and self-fulfilled is to absolutely ruin them. Parents should say to their kids “what you want out of life is not happiness but to be part of a worthy adventure you want to have something worth dying for”. Stanley Hauerwas
  • Application:
    • Am I living what I’m asking?
    • How can I contribute?
    • Share your story

Adult / Group Discussion Questions What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? What was your life growing up with your parents? What about your parents “parenting style” would you like to use or leave behind? What other keys do you think there are to launching our next generation well? In what areas are you “living what your asking”? In what areas aren’t you? How can you contribute to raising and launching this generation well? Who can you share your story with?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and sit down with your kids and talk to them about today’s message. Share with them how you want to live with alignment and if they notice you saying things your not practicing to talk with you so that you can change. Talk to them about the models and examples of faith in the church, and why following Jesus matters for you. Lastly ask them how you can help them – how you can contribute to launching them well. Ask what they need and how you can help.

Challenge for this Week: Walk with alignment, choose to contribute, and share your story with someone.