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Season of Celebration

Posted by Pastor Mark Toone on

Well, they’re coming in! The graduation announcements, the graduation party invitation—this is the season when we celebrate and prepare to say goodbye to another class of high school seniors. My memories of our own kids’ graduation ceremonies—the Tacoma Dome crush—still seem so fresh to me even though Rachel and Cooper are now college (and seminary) graduates. Believe me, parents (and grandparents): these next four years are going to fly!

It also makes me mindful of how critical is the investment we make in the Christian education of our children. A recent Barna study suggests that nearly half of self-described “born again" Christians make commitments to Christ before the age of 13, 64% by the age of 18 and 77% by the age of 21. Put a different way, if you don’t reach a person for Christ before they are out of college, the chances of doing so drop to less than 1 in 4.

If these numbers are anywhere close to accurate, it should cause us to redouble our commitment to the Christian nurture of our young people. If we are serious about our Chapel Hill mission to “present everyone mature in Christ,” our Sunday (and, for us “Saturday”) school and youth ministries are an essential part of that mission.

That means we spend a lot of money trying to reach kids. It also means we continue to elevate the vision of what it means to be a “Sunday School” teacher or youth volunteer, inviting, challenging, and training our very best to pour themselves into the lives of young people to the end that, by the time seniors walk out our doors, they know and love the Jesus who knows and loves them.

One of our passions as a church is the raising up and sending of leaders. Well, I’d like to believe that many of the graduates we are sending off are among that number! Leaders for Christ who will have a kingdom impact wherever they are going. You become part of that when you support financially, when you pray for and when you volunteer with our children and young people.

So, as you watch those graduation announcements coming in, let your chest swell a little bit! You played an important part in those young lives. May it ever be so here at Chapel Hill.

I look forward to worship with you this weekend. It will be the last Sunday for our choir and bell season in the 9:00 am service and a communion service to boot! Don’t miss it…and bring a friend.

Pastor Mark

P.S. By the way, Fathers’ Day this year will be an incredible chance to invite that un-churched dad next door. Bouncy house, great food, putting lessons for dads and kids…I might even be chipping golf balls off the stage for some reason that we are still trying to justify (other than the fact that it will be very fun!) The 9:00 service will be Bluegrass music and Derek will be shredding it in the modern services. Don’t miss it…and start asking the dad who needs a little boost to get HIS kids into church.

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