Next Up Matters

By Michael Agnew
By Zabdi Piña
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By John Hames
By Makenzie Romero
By Caroline Khameneh
By Victoria Renken
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Paul Leadabrand
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Justus George
By Lori Kuykendall
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Courtney Grimes
By Jessie Yearwood
By Jeff Black
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Sandhya Curran
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Alf Laukoter
By Neil Wiersum
By Jim Henry
By Erick Rodriguez
By Jenn Wright
By Kevin Harwood
By Nandi Roszhart
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Albán Snider
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Melanie Mechsner
By Kyla Mikusek
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Tiffany Stein
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Jason Stein
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith

Recently, my 7-year old son prayed to receive the salvation that Jesus Christ offers to us. And to me…that matters. Knowing that his eternity is secure in the Lord gives me comfort and peace. Knowing that he understands, who Jesus is, matters to me. It matters to me that he knows that the God of the universe loves him. It also matters to me that he knows that he can communicate through prayer with the Creator. It matters to me. But should it matter to anyone else?

This past Saturday the Next Gen ministries of IBC – High School, Middle School, and Children’s – met with volunteers to kick off this year of serving our families. They heard stories of transformation in the lives of students and children. A fourth-grader, named Jane, shared about transformation that has occurred in her life through Children at IBC. She shared the following words:

“Last month I went to a church sleepaway camp for the first time. It was scary, but there was a volunteer who was nice and respectful. When we did bible study, she was really helpful, and she clarified verses for us. Also, every Sunday morning, there is another volunteer. She is so great! I am happy to know that she is there every morning to make me laugh. During VBS this year, my group leader was a great guide, and at the end of VBS, she gave us a little certificate. And it was nice to know that she took up some of her time to make something for us. We all have our special talents… and God has gifted all of [the volunteers] and me too to be a good leader.”

Jane’s story reminds me that she matters too. Not just because I’m the Children’s Pastor, but because she is a sister in Christ. She is a participating member in the body of Christ. Her parents, small group leaders, and others, have poured into her, and she is a valuable contributor to the kingdom of God. Jane matters to me. And Jesus’ words remind us that she matters to him as well.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-5

Jane believes in Jesus and humbly follows after him, asking questions when she needs help, clarity, and support. She is an important part of the body of believers. Brian Dembowczyk writes,

““Kids are the church of tomorrow.” I cringe every time I hear this statement. Oh, I know most people don’t mean any harm by it. They’re simply trying to remind us that we need to raise the next generation to become future leaders in the church. However, it still pains me to hear this expression used.

That statement subtly implies that kids are not a vital part of the church today. It’s as if our kids are sitting at the folding card table at Thanksgiving, waiting for the day when they can join the adults at the real table. This notion is about as far away from the truth as we can get. Theologically, functionally, and missionally, kids are an essential part of the church today. Right now.”

Our Next Up campaign is not just about a building. Next Up is about leaning into what Jesus tells us about kids. Jesus says that children matter. Pouring into children matters. A space that facilitates small group connections where discipleship can happen more effectively matters. Our vision for Children at IBC is tied to that belief. Jane matters. My son matters. Children matter. Not just to their parents. Not just to God. They matter to families, singles, empty-nesters, grandparents, etc. We want to see God transform this city, and that involves kids. We want see God change the hearts of kids to follow him and then to influence their world because of what he has done in them. That’s why Next Up matters.

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