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A look Ahead to the Class of 2029

By Dolores Rader, Minister to Families
 
I invite you to look ahead with me to a Sunday morning on May 20th in the year 2029. It’s 11:20 and the eleventh toll has just quieted the room to a hush.
 
After a welcome, rousing hymn, and morning prayer, 28 seniors rise and come to the platform…
 
We look over the group of young adults and think back to a similar Sunday in September of 2018, when these kids were just second graders and so formally walked across the platform to receive their Bibles. They were so precious and incredibly eager to get their own Bibles - to open them as soon as they sat down in Little Church and pour over them Worship Discover Share Club and to set them on the nightstand next to their bed to keep it close - very close. 
 
One by one the now grown, lanky versions of themselves step forward and state their name, the Bible verse they have claimed for themselves and the gifts and passions they have discovered that God has given them and what their plans are to use those gifts. Their responses are thoughtful and filled with gratitude and we know that those New International Readers version Bibles with their big font and scores of pictures were well worn with tattered pages before being replaced by a 10 point font study Bible. 
 
Naomi, Peyton, Lilly, Jonathan, Brian, Vivian, Elliott, John, Julianna, and Lauren all preach and invite us in to their unique perspective on and love for the gospel. They preach with such authenticity and conviction that it is obvious to even the first time guest that these children have been exposed to and entrenched in a rich and intentional series of programs which grounded them in foundational and excellent teaching and invited them into really safe places to ask hard questions and share tough times.
 
John recounts a story from his freshmen year when he shared with his Family Group that he had serious doubts about his faith after his grandmother died from a long battle with cancer. Not one of his friends or leaders disregarded him or shamed him but cared for him and wrestled with him through that dark period.
 
Brian described a pivotal point in his faith journey when in middle school he started cutting himself and struggling with depression. It was Peyton, Henrik, and Jorge - his 527 Tribe friends - as different as they could be from every demographic measure - who rallied around him, prayed for him, and were there for him in every way 12 year old boys can be.
 
In Naomi’s oration, she shares the very moment on a dusty road in Collique where she heard God clearly call her to service - to bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven.
 
Vivian shares how when her brother was in seventh grade he was exposed to pornography. In her parents shock and hurt, they reached out to the church because they knew they did not travel the path alone. Her brother was relieved when confronted about it and asked to confide in Greg Taylor who had showed up predictably every Sunday and in unexpected ways for years in her brother’s life.
 
Jonathan describes hours upon hours upon hours - in the late, late night and into the early daylight that John Tanglewood, the newest Youth Ministry Resident, spent with him as he discerned his own call to Youth Ministry.
 
Lilly enthusiastically describes her passion to bring art and beauty to the world - a passion that was ignited in fourth grade by her MainKids University teacher and cultivated through a mentoring relationship that continued through high school.
 
One by one - each senior shared story after story of how the people and programs here at South Main influenced, inspired, and pushed them to an authentic faith all their own and when they were done, Bailey, who had always been quiet and a bit shy, sings the most beautiful choral piece she and Carey had worked on for months leading up to this day as an expression of her faith.  As she finished her solo, every single member of the Class of 2029 could not help but rush to her side in pride and solidarity. They are more than friends - they were family one to each other.
 
And while I am not a future see-er, fortune teller, or prophesizer (each account here is based on recent experiences within the Family Ministry), I am confident that your continued investment in the children and families at South Main in the next decade will yield a version of this account that is even bigger and brighter. 

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