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Lead the Next Generation Well

There is another generation coming behind us. If we don't want to see the next generation drop the faith baton, then we must make sure we are handing it off properly. Do you like watching the relay races during the Olympics? One of the keys to winning the race is the baton hand off. The runners have a short window of time to pass the baton to the next runner. The next generation has had several labels placed upon them, but the most popular is Gen Z. There are over 73 million Gen Z kids in America and over 2 billion world-wide. The age range varies from study to study, but the most common age range has Gen Z as people born between 1996-2010. The generation that will follow Gen Z has been named the Alpha Generation. The Alpha Generation is comprised of children born from 2010 and counting. Since it’s very early on for the Alpha Generation, let's talk exclusively about Gen Z today. WE MUST LEAD WELL BY HELPING GEN Z KNOW JESUS. Last weekend, I was consulting with a church and after the service, we went to a pizza place, where you make your own pizza. Everyone went down the “assembly line” and picked out the items they wanted on their pizza. Different kinds of sauces. Meat or no meat? What kind of meat? Different kinds of cheese. Lots of other choices when it came to toppings. The end result? Everyone had their own personal, unique pizza that they had formed from their own tastes. It’s a great idea when you’re making a pizza, but it’s not a great idea when it comes to a person’s view of God. A recent report from Pew Research found that 80% of Americans say they believe in God. But...for many in that group...it’s a “god” they have formed using their own preferences. The “god’ they believe in is not the God of the Bible. According to the report, only 56% believe in God as described in the Bible. As the next generation grows up, there is a danger that they are being led down a path that says “God is whoever you want Him to be for you.” You also see this in more and more people choosing which parts of the Bible they want to believe and not believe. For many, if their lifestyle does not line up with God’s Word, rather than changing their lifestyle, they ignore or explain away that part of God’s Word. The end result is we are teaching the next generation, by example, that they can go down the “God assembly line” and choose whatever they want His attributes and commandments to be. In other words, they can “build their own God.” Down the assembly line they go. Don’t want God to bring judgment? Fine. Just leave that off. Want there to be many ways to heaven? Fine. Add that to your view of God. Don’t want God telling you to be part of a local church? No problem. Just leave that off. Only want a God of 6 commandments? That’s okay if it works for you. You get the point. More than ever, we must teach kids a Biblical view of God. In a “make your own version of God culture,” we must help them see that our morality must come from God rather than making a god, based on our own morals and lifestyle choices. We must help the next generation understand that our view of God must be grounded in the Scriptures and the scriptures alone. The next generation is under tremendous pressure to forsake the God of the Bible and embrace a false god of their own making. It’s a replay of the children of Israel forming their own god out of a golden calf. Which God wasn’t very happy about, by the way. May we take kids back to the true nature and attributes of God. When they see who God really is, they will have to make a choice. Surrender and worship Him with their lives or turn to a false god of their own making. Rather than just helping kids know about God, we must help them know God. There’s a big difference. I can say I know about Lebron James. But I don’t know Lebron James personally. See the difference? So, how can we help children move beyond just knowing about God to really knowing God? The first step is to help kids understand what it means to become a follower of Jesus. They must understand what sin is and that they have sinned. They must understand next that there is a penalty for sin. If we do not accept Jesus into our lives, we will be separated from God when we die. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 Next, kids must understand that Jesus came to the earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross in our place, was buried and three days later rose from the dead. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 Then kids must understand that beginning a relationship with Jesus is like a free gift. Y