The Experience Magazine - Fall 2017

The Relay Handoff BY JIM JEFFERY

elay Events are some of the most exciting for athletes and spectators at a track meet. As the incoming runner enters the “changeover box”, the receiving runner has to match speed to prepare for the exchange. The handoff is non-visual but often verbal as the runners sync and exchange the baton at a high speed. The Relay Handoff has been developed into a science with three major forms: the upsweep, the downsweep and the push. The 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relays are often won or lost in the handoff even in the Olympics.

Handing the faith to the next generation is even more important. Psalm 78: 1,4-7 says, “Give ear, O my people to my law; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. We will not hide them from their children, telling the generation to come the praises of the Lord. Which He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children, that the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments.” The Relay Handoff of faith is to be multigenerational! The opening chapters of the book of Judges show what happened when the handoff is bungled. The Israelites “Served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD which He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:7) “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10) The baton of truth and faith was left on the track, and the race was lost for a generation. It doesn’t take a perfect family to pass the baton to our sons and daughters. But in reality, parents knowing, loving and learning from God are essential. Taking advantage of teachable moments in the rhythm of family life is how the baton is passed. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9) Timothy had an unsaved dad but a godly grandmother and mother who passed on a genuine faith rooted in Christ and the Bible. (Acts 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14-17) He became an

Olympic class leader of Christ and the Gospel. Timothy took the challenge to pass the baton to others who taught others as well. (2 Timothy 2:2) Word of Life as a ministry has been running the relay and passing the baton since its inception. Evangelism, discipleship, biblical teaching, equipping and leadership development has handed the baton to four generations. As a grandfather, I have had the joy of using the Quiet Time Diary and Memory Verse Packs to disciple my grandsons in weekly Facetime and in face-to-face chats. As a youth pastor, I saw firsthand the value of the Local Church Ministry program as a tool for baton passing in the church. Teaching at the Bible Institute has encouraged me to see the next generation of spiritual leaders being prepared to run their race. The camps and conferences held around the world always focus on handing off the Gospel to others. So, my question to you is …. to whom are you handing the baton to in your life?

The Relay Handoff 11

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