And our children shall lead us….

baldbishop1This weekend, I had the blessing of attending the annual Warmth In Winter youth rally sponsored by the TN Annual Conference. Thousands of youth from all over the  conference gathered to sing, to pray, to dance, to scream, and to hear some great speakers talk about life of faith and God’s call on the lives of each of our young people. However, one of the main reasons I attended on Saturday night was to make good on a challenge I had offered the youth back at the Summer Sizzler event at Beersheba Springs this summer. At that event, we were talking about the great work of the Youth Service Fund and the fundraising efforts for that fund in recent years. I learned that they had raised $12,000 the previous year, and only $3,000 the year before that, and I thought they could do better. So I offered a challenge. If they could raise over $20,000 by the 2014 Warmth in Winter event, I would let them shave my head.

So last night, when they led me across the stage to make good on the challenge, I found a mixture of emotions. For sure, I hated to see my hair go away, but I was filled with pride at the accomplishment of our kids, who had raised as of this morning over $25,000 . . . and the money keeps coming in. They had doubled the amount from the previous year — mainly because they caught a vision for something great and believed that they could do greater things than what they had done in the past.

I share this because I want to lift up the great accomplishment of our youth — and I hope you will celebrate with them what they have done. But I also share this because our youth have put us on notice. They have demonstrated what can happen when we commit ourselves to greater things. They have far exceeded the expectations — and it’s our turn to follow in their footsteps.

Our giving focus at this June’s Annual Conference will be the Imagine No Malaria campaign. I won’t go into the details about the importance of that effort (you can read more at and our conference leaders will be sharing information in the coming months.

What I want to do is challenge all of us to commit ourselves to giving more than we ever have in the past, following the example of our kids, and doing something significant for the Kingdom of God. I’m not going to sacrifice my hair again (once is enough!) but I am going to call for all of us to commit ourselves to prayer and the belief that God is calling us to do something great. I believe that if we focus our efforts, we can do something amazing . . . and I want to invite all of you to work with me to make this happen.

I’m proud of our youth, for they are leading us forward in walking in the way of Jesus so that the world will be transformed.

May we follow their example.

4 Comments on “And our children shall lead us….”

  1. Kay Dotson says:

    come visit Loretto UMC, we would welcome you and so encouraged by the work of our kids across the globe.
    Kay Dotson

  2. Sue Humphrey Geier says:

    Come to Christ UMC, franklin…sometime…just show up…any time…you don’t need an invitation…just come…bring Lynn or don’t bring anybody you want…just come…Sunday, wednesday…or whenever…we r on line…come see Carol…and John…and Mark…and all of us …Maybe come Saturday, feb 15…to our youth benefit…u can read about it…He will be there…He is everywhere…and He is always at CUMC in franklin where we love you…we will never be perfect…in this life…but we are here…for you and everyone else who will come…Sue Humphrey Geier

  3. David Lewis says:

    That’s cool. My head is shaved naturally!!!!! 🙂