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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Count Me In for the Next Gen

Andy Stanley - Count Me In for the Next Gen

Andy Stanley - Count Me In for the Next Gen
TOPICS: Leadership, Serving Others, Influence, leader, Purpose, Community

I think we should give the invitation now, Bill? Yeah. One of the things that I've always been so proud of is inviting, Sandra and I both, inviting people to any of the environments at our church, whether it's Sunday morning service or the other things that we do. I always feel confident. In fact, we kind of have a thing that we do where we try to every week invite someone to come sit with us. And since I always sit in the same place, that's easy. And I invite people every, at least once a week, it's like, "Hey, you should come sit with me". And since I always sit in the same place, that's easy. But the truth is, those of you who come on a regular basis have noticed? You all sit in the same place as well. Okay? So it's pretty much an easy way, it'd be easy to find you.

So we just kind of make it a habit. You should come sit with me, you should come sit with me, you should come sit with me because I know when they come, they get to meet you and see all the fabulous things that you're doing. When when we were younger and our kids were younger and we were with lots of families at the ballpark and gymnastics and all that sort of stuff, we would always invite families and I would say kind of tongue in cheek, I'd say, "Hey, you should come sit with us in church or come and visit our church, but I would don't bring your children". And they'd be, "Oh, you don't have things for children"? I'm like, "No, the things for our children are so good that whether you like it or not, your kids are gonna want to come back. So if you're just gonna check it out, don't bring your kids 'cause they're gonna drag you back because our children's environments are so amazing".

And what our church, and I know I've said this to you, told you this before, we're such thoroughly satisfied customers when it comes to our children, what this church has done for our children is just almost magical. We always felt like we had a partner in our parenting with our kids and they're married now and older and we're just so extremely grateful. But to ensure that that continues to be the case for our local church and for our local churches and our churches all over the country, right now, we literally need hundreds of you from all of our churches to join one of what we call our strategic service teams. We don't call 'em volunteer teams, we call 'em strategic service teams because we need some of you.

And as we're gonna see, you need some of you to actually be involved strategically with the mission of this local church, the local church that you call your church home. And our mission is simply to inspire and to equip people to follow Jesus. And we want to inspire and equip an entire generation to follow Jesus from preschool to children, elementary age, middle school, high school and college. And in order to do that with the challenges our culture faces and with the challenges that this generation faces, we need more people in the game and we want to invite a lot of you to do that. So today I'm gonna use whatever persuasion skills I have, whether it's logic, emotion, all of them, okay? I wanna use whatever persuasion skills I have to persuade hundreds of you to give us an opportunity to introduce you to one of the best investments of a lifetime that you'll ever make.

In fact, this is the best investment outside of your personal family that you'll ever make, serving in an outward-facing, local church like this one. And it's an opportunity for you to meet other busy successful people, people who don't have time to serve and volunteer, but people who have made time because they know it makes a difference. They made the time because they have experienced the difference it makes. And every Sunday when I show up at one of our churches and here at North Point in particular, I get here and there are some people, volunteers already here. They've already got the cones set up and the production people.

And every Sunday I walk around and say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for being here early, thank you for serving". 100% of the time, do you know when I get back, "Who are you again"? No. Well, 100% of the time I get back. "No, Andy, thank you, thank you. This is the best part of my week," some people say, or "This is something I look forward to all week. Thank you for creating this opportunity". And we need, and you need and our city needs and our world needs more of you to step into some of those strategic service roles. So before I kind of turn on the persuasion, I do wanna tell you a quick story. It's really an epic story that describes and explains how we got here to begin with. It's the backstory to the story of the church. And if you're new to faith, you've probably never heard this story before. And this is amazing. If you abandoned faith or you left faith, this is one of those stories that should cause you to at least, I think, reconsider.

So here's what happened. After Jesus was crucified, two and a half, three days later, He rose from the dead and He gathered with His disciples, His apostles, and He saw them and they saw Him and He gave them instructions what to do and then He ascended into heaven. And then about three and a half or four weeks later, they, because of Jesus' instructions, went into the streets, this is amazing, they go into the streets of Jerusalem. This is during a big festival, that's why they waited.

So there are people from Galilee and Judea all crammed into Jerusalem. Then there are Jewish people from all these surrounding regions crammed into Jerusalem and they go into the streets of Jerusalem and they begin to preach and teach, that Jesus, their Nazarene rabbi, was crucified for their sins and the sins of the Jewish people and the world and has been raised from the dead. And because they are eyewitnesses and because they're, this is what's amazing, because they are risking their lives in the very streets that Jesus was dragged through on His way to be crucified. And they seem to be fearless, even though they could certainly be arrested like Jesus was, dozens of Judeans and people from Jerusalem believed this account, these eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Jesus. First dozens, then hundreds, then a thousand, then 1500. And suddenly, everywhere you go in Jerusalem, people are talking about the resurrected rabbi from Nazareth who may be the Messiah.

Well, this makes the people who arrested Jesus to begin with, very, very nervous. And so they send their henchman out and sure enough, here are the Jesus followers. We thought we'd gotten rid of this Nazarene cult. We thought we had put this to rest and put this to bed for good. But now His followers are out talking about Him being raised from the dead and they're shocked, you know, we killed Him and now this. And so Luke, who knew all of these people, Luke knew Peter, he knew John, he knew Matthew. Luke, who knew all these people, put this narrative together and describes what happened. He tells us that then when they heard about this preaching in the streets, the high priest who was responsible for Jesus being crucified, same guy, and all of his associates who were members of the party of the Sadducees were filled with jealousy. It's like, wait a minute, we finally got rid of this cult and now it's back and it's bigger than ever, it has saturated and infected the entire city. So they did what the only thing they knew to do. They sent their temple guard out and had the apostles arrested and put them in the public jail.

Now, when you think jail and I think jail, it's not the same jail. The public jail in the first century was a hole in the ground in the building, maybe in a building, not a very nice building, but a hole in the ground that might be covered. A hole in the ground with no drainage, A hole in the ground with no drainage that someone else had been in. Okay, get the picture, but don't think too hard about that. So this is not like jail, like open up the bars and let 'em in and out. They're basically in holes in the ground. These are the apostles, the followers of Jesus. They put 'em in jail because, in the hole in the ground, because they're holding 'em overnight because the next day they're gonna talk to them and tell them, "Hey, if you don't want to go the way of your leader, you gotta knock this off". Well, that night. You gotta read this part for yourself. God springs them out of the hole. Said "Get out," and they escape.

Now if you had done what God called you to do, you went in the streets of Jerusalem, risked your life, get arrested, get put in a hole in the ground, then God lets you out, what do you do next? I'll tell you what I do next. I'd think, "You know what? I think Jerusalem's heard enough. I think I'm gonna move on to the next city and talk about Jesus 'cause it's not safe here". The next morning, they find out, the leaders find out, that these same men who somehow were sprung from jail are back in the streets and at the temple. The epicenter of ancient Judaism preaching about a resurrected Nazarene who they believe was the Messiah, the Son of God. So they have these guys rearrested and then they are taken in before this group of men. And again, just to remind you, this is the same group that convinced Pilate to crucify Jesus, same men. And they're in front of these men and they accuse them and they said, "Look, you have already been warned once, we gave you strict orders not to teach in this name".

If you wanna just teach Torah and give insights, okay, but you gotta quit. You gotta quit elevating the name of your rabbi. Yeah, you have filled Jerusalem. I mean this isn't in a corner and this isn't in some small town. "You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood". Okay? So, you gotta knock it off. You know what we did to Him, you know what we have the power to do to you. So Peter steps up to give their defense and he preaches a little sermon. And his theme is, the theme of Peter sermon is, you are guilty of that man's blood. We're not making this up. You know very well you were there. And he uses this amazing line. He says, "You killed the author of life, but God raised Him".

In fact, I just want to real quick give you the outline of Peter's defense, his little sermon. His outline went like this. You killed Him. God raised Him. We've seen Him, now say you're sorry. Okay, that's their outline. It's like you did kill Him, you're guilty. We were all there. We were there hanging in the back of the crowd during the trial. God raised Him from the dead. We've seen Him. You should repent and you should declare Him your Messiah because God has done something in this very city in your midst. To quote Peter, he says, "And we are witnesses of these things". And then, you read right by this because, you know, the culture is so different than ours. Luke says these men were flogged. That's all it says. Flogged.

And the text keeps going. It's like when they talk about the crucifixion of Jesus, "And then they crucified Him". No description. And no description is given of the crucifixion because everybody reading the story had seen one or the aftermath. They didn't need a description. No description of being flogged. Everyone who lived in that day and age had seen the aftermath perhaps of someone flogged. We don't know if all 12 apostles were there, if there were six or eight, this took a long time. And they listened as they heard the scourge, the whip, the scorpion ripping the flesh off of their friend's backs and their yells and their pain and they knew it was their turn. One after another, after another, after another, after another, their backs are bleeding. People died at times from the infection at being flogged. And then they let 'em go because they knew they would leave there to go have to be healed somewhere. They couldn't circulate, they couldn't go back to what they were doing before. The apostles, now Luke knew these men.

So this is his, he knew these men. This is their story, he got it straight from them. "The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing". They had to be carried out probably, "Because they had been counted worthy of suffering". This is the word we miss, "Disgrace for the Name". Do you know why this is important? Because for the rest of their lives, when those fishermen took off their shirt, for the rest of their lives when those men took off their shirts, what it would say to culture is, you have been arrested, you were found guilty of a crime and you were punished. But for them, it was a badge of honor. They suffered disgrace for the Name. And days later when they could walk again, days later when enough ointment had been put on their backs so that they could move without the pain of those wounds ripping back open, "Day after day, in the temple courts, from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah".

These are our people. They are why we are here. And why would they do that? Why would you go back to the same place three times and then day after day after day in the city where your life is being threatened? Who would do that? Men who no longer feared death. And what would cause a man to lose his fear of death? When you watch your rabbi crucified and then you have breakfast with your rabbi a few days later, you realize God has done something miraculous. God has done something for the world and the world needs to know, and you're not gonna shut us up. And the fear of death has lost its sting. I just gotta say one more thing before we move on. Look at this, "Good news". That's where our word gospel comes from. I wish the word gospel wasn't in the text, I wish it just said good news every time.

Look up here. If the version of Christianity that you embrace currently doesn't strike you as good news, it's the wrong version. If the version of Christianity you were raised with and that you walked away from never felt like good news, it was the wrong version. From day one, from the opening day, from the opening chapter of the story of our faith, everything about Jesus for everybody in the world was good news. And the only people that threatened were those who stood in contrast and stood contrary to the good news that God had done something for the whole world. Now, because of their courage and because of their boldness, they couldn't be rearrested because the whole city had come out to hear these guys and so the religious leaders just kind of finally back off.

And then the story continues. Luke tells us that "In those days when the number of disciples was increasing," disciples simply being followers of Jesus, they increased and now it's thousands of people. And these people from the surrounding regions who came into Judea and to the city decided to stay because thousands of them have now, sort of, joined this Jerusalem church. And they're, imagine this, they get to sit at the feet of Peter and John and Matthew and Bartholomew, the men who have been with Jesus and they're like soaking this up, like, tell us more. I mean God has done something. We want all of the details. So there's this explosive growth which created explosive challenges because they didn't have any systems. It's just these mobs of people who can't get close enough to the apostles and they're staying in town.

So now the restaurants are running out of food and it's just become a little bit unmanageable, a little bit of chaos. And so it created some specific problems within this group of people, specifically, it created a food distribution problem. Here's what happened. The families that lived in Galilee, that came to Jerusalem, and the families that lived in Judea, that region, that came to Jerusalem, they were what the text calls Hebraic Jews. That is, they spoke Aramaic and they shared the same culture. But apparently thousands of Jewish people who were more Hellenistic, they were Greek-speaking Jews, had come into the city for this festival. But they too have embraced Jesus as Messiah. Now they're mixing together and the church has decided to take care of the needs of those who had the greatest needs. And one of the groups that had the greatest needs were the widows, somebody had to take care of widows. Specifically, somebody had to provide daily food for the widows.

So the church takes on this responsibility and here's the perfect picture of how the church is to be. They're preaching and teaching the message of Jesus and they're caring for the people that need to be cared for. They're preaching and teaching the message, the words of Jesus. And they're making room and making space to care for those that need to be cared for. But because these out-of-towners weren't as connected, the food distribution system began to break down. And the Hellenistic, the widows from outside of Judea and Galilee, those widows weren't being fed as quickly or as efficiently, we don't know the details. And so there was a little bit of riff in the Christian community.

Now, it wasn't a discrimination problem, it was a distribution problem because the growth had overwhelmed the systems because they didn't have any systems. And this is what's cool, too. We discovered the apostles, I mean the men who sat at the feet of Jesus, the apostles were trying to do everything. They're trying to preach and teach and serve food and make sure the food is distributed appropriately to widows, so they just can't do everything. So they did what churches do. They called a meeting. Ever been to a church meeting, they're the worst. Okay, so if you didn't grow up in church, you don't know the words to some of the hymns, I'm sorry, but you've never been to a church meeting, that's an advantage, okay, so it kind of balances out. So here's what happens. So the 12, the 12 apostles, gathered the disciples, these are the followers of Jesus and probably just the leaders. They couldn't have gathered all the thousands of them. They gathered the disciples together and said, "Hey," this is the apostles speaking, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the Word in order to wait on tables".

Now here's what they weren't saying. They weren't saying, "Hey, we were with Jesus. We don't do that". That's not what they were saying. Jesus made that very clear before He was arrested, He said, "Hey, as I've washed your feet, you wash each other's feet. If you ever think you're a big deal, you just find some feet to wash". They never forgot that lesson. So they are fine serving the widows, but they can't do everything. They said, "Look, we are uniquely positioned to teach what Jesus taught because we were with Jesus daily for those three years. So we need to find somebody else to help distribute the food. We're not too good to do it. Both are essential, but there's gotta be a break".

So "Brothers and sisters," they said, "Choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom". And "We," the apostles, "Will turn this responsibility". That's how we know they were the ones doing it. "We will turn this responsibility over to them and then we will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word". And then, look up here, a miracle takes place. "The proposal pleased. The whole group". It's never happened since in the history of the church that an entire church agreed on anything. It was a one and done, okay. But the entire church agreed, you know what, we need to take this responsibility off of you so that you can do what you're uniquely equipped to do. And anyway, so here's what they did then. Then they chose, they were very specific because they needed something specific done. They were really selective about who they chose.

First, "They chose" again, they chose because again, there was something that needed to be done. They needed the right people to do the right thing in order to accomplish what needed to be accomplished. People who embraced the mission and were willing to do what needed to be done then. So they chose seven, this was so brilliant, they chose seven Greek men, Hellenistic Jews, to make sure that the Hellenistic widows were taken care of. They chose their own people. So smart. One of the guys they chose became famous later, his name is Stephen. Stephen started off doing food distribution for widows. They discovered Stephen had a gift of logic and a gift for argument. And he had an uncanny ability to argue for who Jesus was, the fact that He was in fact God's Messiah. And he was able to just twist the Pharisees and the teachers of law in circles with his logic. And he became a very powerful preacher and teacher.

And ultimately he was so convincing that the religious leaders had to hire some people to lie about Stephen in order to have him arrested. He was taken outside the walls of Jerusalem and stoned to death and he becomes the first Christian martyr. The other person they mention that you hear about later is Philip. Philip is a Greek Jew. He begins distributing food. They discover he has special gifts and talents as well. And Philip actually shares the message of the King Jesus, the message of the gospel, with the treasurer of Ethiopia who was visiting Jerusalem during that festival. And he explains to him what Isaiah meant and explains to him who Jesus was. And the treasurer of Ethiopia places his faith in Jesus as his king, then goes back home and spreads the news of Jesus in that part of the world and becomes an influencer of influencers. And then they choose five more men, these five Greek men. And they presented these men, the text said, "Presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid hands on them".

And, what do you think happened? Well, logically what would happen is apparently the Hellenistic widows were served their meals on time. Surely that happened, that was the result. But Luke doesn't mention that. Luke gives us the result of this process and this decision they made. Here's what he said happened as a result of them getting a little bit more organized in distributing the responsibility, this is amazing. "So the Word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly," and here's another miracle, "And a large number of priests became obedient to the faith". There were thousands of priests in Jerusalem. It took thousands of priests to take care of the temple. And a large number, probably hundreds of priests, hundreds of the very group responsible for having Jesus crucified, come to the conclusion that Jesus is in fact the long awaited-for Messiah, based on the eyewitness accounts of the apostles who said "We saw Him die. We saw Him after He rose from the dead. That's why we stuck around town".

And this group coming to faith, large number of priests, explains some of the things that we see unfold in the book of Acts and in the history of the church going forward. And what did all that have to do with food distribution? Well, one thing leads to another. These seven men. These seven men did what needed to be done in the moment. And it fueled a movement. And it's why we're here and now it's our turn. And we don't need seven of you. We need hundreds of you, at all of our locations, to step up and do what needs to be done now. And for those of you watching from home, I understand it's so convenient and I'm so glad that we're able to broadcast it to you from home. And it's easy. And I get that, I'm not critical at all. I mean, we provide that for you. But we need some of you at home to be here. It's less convenient, but it's more strategic. It's less convenient, it's more strategic. It's less convenient, but you need to be a strategic part of what's happening in the local church and we need you to come back.

And the truth is you need you to come back. And just to twist the knife just a little bit, okay, perhaps it's time. I know it's kind of interesting for me to say it this way, for you to inconvenience yourself for something greater than yourself. That perhaps it's time for a lot of us to inconvenience ourselves for something greater than ourselves. Here's what I can promise you. No flogging. There will be no flogging, no flogging, I can guarantee you that. I can't guarantee you get your food distributed on time. We have lots of coffee and donuts, but no flogging, right? We will never suffer to the point of shedding blood for the gospel. All our Heavenly Father's asked us to do is to participate in the body and not to simply be a consumer. You will never regret what you do for a local church that is an outward-facing, local church. And collectively, we will accomplish a great deal more.

Now, again, I have all the history of our church in my head because I've been here since the beginning, right? And I remember 26 years ago, almost to the date, it was the beginning of the year, 26 years ago, standing in front of a much smaller group of people. We had no building, we had no resources, we had no members. All we had was an idea that we weren't even sure was gonna work. And a group of people stepped up and said, "We believe our city and our nation needs a different kind of church". Our city and our nation needs an outward-facing church. Our city and our nation and the world needs a gospel that truly is from top to bottom and left to right, good news and of great joy for all the people, that Jesus needs to be talked about in such a way that people lean in rather than push back. Because they would hope it's true.

What if that's true? What if it's true? What if it's true? There really is a God who has allowed us to call Him Father. We can have that kind of intimate relationship with Him, that loves us unconditionally, who sent His son to pay for our sins so we could have clear access to God who encourages us to call Him Father. What if that's true? And the reason you're here today, and the reason I'm here today in the building like this, or in the building like you're in, is because of those people 26 years ago. Their money, their time, made it possible. And now it's your money and it's your time that's required to make it possible for this generation and the next generation to continue doing what we know God has called us to do and to create the environments that you've been blessed by, your children have been blessed by, that we want to bless another entire generation with. And if everybody will do a little, we can accomplish a lot.

Now, what I'm about to say is not hyperbole. I'm not making this up. This happens every week at all of our churches because I get to hear the stories and read the stories and see the email. Next week, at all of our churches, not even just here in Atlanta, but different campuses. A woman is gonna show up for the first time at our church with some kids in tow. And she desperately wants them to enjoy themselves because she wants them to get plugged into a local church like she grew up in local church, but she's been out for a while and they've been out for a while and she's hoping we get it right. And next week another one's gonna show up with a couple of kids and a husband in tow. And she wants the kids, when they're finished, when they pick them up after their environment to say, "Mommy, can we come back"? And she wants her husband to at least tolerate it and be willing to come back. And she is praying like crazy that God will answer her prayer. And you have the potential to be an answer to her prayer. It happens every single week.

And every single week, next week, some parents are gonna show up, maybe a single parent's gonna show up with a middle schooler, find out what we have for middle schoolers and walk down that wide hallway with all those kids and all that stuff going on. Take him to Transit, take her to Transit. And he or she doesn't necessarily want to be there. And her attitude, his attitude precedes her or him before they get into the room. And mom is praying like crazy. "Oh God, I need some help. My kids need some truth. I pray this works". And this is a big church. And you have the opportunity and I have the opportunity to be an answer to her prayer, answer to those parents' prayers. It happens every afternoon. Parents show up, a parent shows up with a 10th grader, 11th grader to InsideOut, that says, "Where do I sign up? How long is it gonna be here"?

And the attitude is just, it's massive, it's like you can tell he or she isn't necessarily bought in and mom and dad has prayed all the way there. And for years, people just like you have been an answer to those parents' prayers. I'm not exaggerating. We've been doing this 27 years. So there's stories. This isn't guesswork anymore. It's not an experiment anymore. It's not a theory anymore. Those children's, middle school and high school environments have the potential to change, alter and direct the trajectory of an entire life. And for some of you, you know that because that was you, because you were raised in environments like that and participated in environments like that. And we're gonna keep doing that.

Our model for ministry for children is very complicated. It is very labor intensive. Most churches don't do it this way, it's too hard. But we are not gonna give up because we are committed to the next generation and we are committed to setting an anchor that is so deep that even when they stray from it, they can't stray far. That's our goal and that's what we're inviting you to be a part of. We don't babysit, we don't just take care of children. We inspire and equip them to follow Jesus. And here's the thing, if it was your daughter showing up next week at some church with a couple of your grandkids in tow, what would you want them to experience? If it was your son or your daughter? If it was your grandson, if it was a family member and they've walked away from church and now they're gonna give it another shot, it's your daughter bringing your son-in-law and he's just been so leery, just not, you know, sort of defensive and "I don't know" about the church thing, what would you want them to experience?

You would want it to be epic. You would want it to be clean, you would want it to be organized. You would want it to be amazing. And it's not gonna be any more amazing than we have amazing people participate. And that's why I'm inviting you to step up to be a part of this. Churches all over the country take their cues from us. Churches all over the country copy us. We give stuff away all the time and we want to continue to be a part of this. And I can't go too long about this, but you know as well as I do the challenges that students, in particular, face right now with not just the temptation, just the cultural shift. We believe the gospel addresses that. We believe the fact that God loves a child unconditionally, a student unconditionally, the gospel is relevant.

There are guardrails, there are ethical guardrails, there are moral guardrails. And when you add those to accountability, it does something for a student that isn't gonna happen any other way. If you've ever thought, "Boy, I wish there had been a church like this when I was growing up," here's your chance to assure there's a church like this for the kids that are growing up now. And I know you don't have time. Nobody has time. You're super busy, successful people. I'm asking you to make time and I'll be specific. I'm asking you to give us one hour. You see, if I called you or if your lead pastor called you and said, "Could I have one hour of your time"? Most of you would say, "Okay, I'll give you an hour. If you just need an hour".

So, I'm calling in our hour right now. This is, I'm calling in an hour. We're asking you to attend a one-hour information meeting where you can discover more about our Sunday morning environments to discover whether or not you can be a strategic part of what we're accomplishing on Sunday morning. That's all we want, is an hour for you to show up and find out more and discover and pray about your participation and look for a way to lean in and get involved. And here's the thing, my heart, I mean some of you've been around a long time, you've heard me say this before. My heart is so broken over the loss of the church's influence in our nation.

And I want us to lead the way and lead other churches in reestablishing the church as the conscience of the nation, but more than that, and related to that, my heart is so broken over a generation deconstructing faith because they were handed a faith that requires deconstructing. And the reason they've been required and the reason they feel required or some responsibility to deconstruct their faith is because this is a generation leaving church because they're convinced the church left Jesus. They're fine with Jesus. They just can't find the ethic and the moral teaching and the others first teaching of Jesus in the church anymore. And we wanna help change that. And you have changed that. You are the church of Jerusalem, where we teach what Jesus teaches. We teach the ideal and we take care of the people who can't take care of themselves. We're not either-or, we are both-and and we will always be both-and and we will always be outward facing. But for us to be hitting on all cylinders, we need the whole body participating.

So I'm more motivated than ever because we have more potential than ever. But it is not me, it's we. It's us. So, I do have to say this before I go, before we wrap this up. To those of you who get this, to those of you who are part of the choir I'm preaching to, who get here early, who sit with children on carpet squares, who show up at 4:30 in the afternoon, who go on overnight things, who rock babies, who sing to babies, who make sure that mom and dad have an undistracted hour where we can teach them and prepare them to be better parents for the next generation, for those of you who help park cars, who do guest services, who do the things nobody sees, all the men and women in black shirts behind the stages that make all this work so perfectly. Thank you.

And for those of you who give on a regular basis so I don't have to get up here and beg for money, thank you. For those of you who are percentage givers who use the app, who have a plan for how you plan to support your local church financially. Thank you. None of this would happen without you. But to those of you who've grown content to consume, to show up when it's convenient, because we'll always be here for you, whether you're here or not, it's time for you to engage. And for some of you, it's time for you to reengage. To find your place in this body.

So let's do this. Let's keep doing this. I mean, come on, against all odds, as we just saw from the story, against all odds, the church changed the world once. And there's still a great deal in our world that needs to be changed. And by God's grace and with your help, we're gonna be a part of that change, in our communities, in our nation and honestly in the world. So in a moment, I'm gonna come up and I'm gonna tell you exactly what we'd like for you to do so that you can give us that one hour. But before I do that, I want you to hear one final comment from Caroline. Watch this.
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