A Future Together
part 6

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Hebrews 11-12.
Cloud of Witnesses: What does it mean? What does it look like? How does it work?
What it means for us (West-Ark)?

  1. Passing the Baton –
    1. When a relay runner gives up the baton she knows that she has done her best to get there, and she has faith that the next runner will do her best and maybe even hope that the next runner will do better than her.
    2. One generation passes down faith to the next.
    3. Deuteronomy 6:1-9 – Impress them on your children [Who impresses our kids the most?]
    4. Deuteronomy 6:20-25 – Q: “What does this mean?” -- A: “This will be our righteousness”

  2. Completing Faith –
    1. The faith of young and old completes each other. Young need old and old need young.
    2. Adults need the faith of children because they see some things better.
    3. Children need the faith of adults because adults see some things better.
    4. Widows/Widowers Valentine Banquet – the teens and older people were encouraging each other and teaching each other. A Crystal Ball that shows the teens their future and a witness of hope that shows the elderly the legacy of faith (a future they can feel good about).
    5. Hebrews 11:39-40 (Message) Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.
    6. Christ is what links us to one another.

  3. A “Great” Cloud” -- Ministry to All Children by the Whole Church
    1. We cannot be so narrowly focused that we regard youth ministry and children’s ministry as being just for “our” kids. All kids are “our” kids.
    2. Center Street Church of Christ
    3. The church in East Kilbride, Scotland
    4. It has to be the work of the Whole Church -- Ministering to and through children and teens (and also to their families) is more than a “department” or the work of a few individuals. It’s got to be a “West-Ark” thing. It is who we are. Collaborative. (From Robert Oglesby - "The youth ministry program should be collaborative in nature for the future. It is not the youth minister's program nor is it the parent's or teen's program. The church needs to embrace a vision of the youth ministry being everyone's job.")
    5. Elephant social life revolves around breeding and raising of the calves. Elephants have a very long childhood. They are born with fewer survival instincts than many other animals. Instead, they must rely on their elders to teach them the things they need to know. All members of the tightly knit group participate in the care and protection of the young. In fact, a new calf is usually the center of attention for all herd members. All the adults and most of the other young will gather around the newborn, touching and caressing it with their trunks.
    6. Elephants get it. If they can do this, then so can we.
    7. Our Focus is On Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3) – Who is he focused on?

  4. We can do this. This is us.
    1. This is our calling. There is a need in our day and time and in this region to minister to young people and their families.
    2. This is one of our strengths. We have gifted, talented, dedicated people who lead our children’s ministries and youth ministries.
    3. Over the years we’ve built up resources. We have the people who can train and equip other people.
    4. We haven’t been perfect, and yet in our weaknesses and flaws we see how God has blessed us in this. We need to maintain this dedication.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 6 April 2008

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