My grandson has an obsession with excavators. He’s two. He will play all day digging, moving small and large things with an extractor and a dump truck. Shifting, moving, digging, leaving plenty behind, spilling as he goes. Content to talk it through in two year old vocabulary as he plays, works, thinks. He leaves the area to eat, sleep, and come chat for a while. He always returns to continue the excavating, the dumping, the moving, the spilling.
Ministry with children is shifting.
Shifting from Sunday to every day.
Shifting from facility-based to home-based to as-we-go-based.
Shifting from Bible story lessons to families living their stories every day in every way with their eyes on Jesus and their eyes out for other people.
Building deeper family relationships.
With our shoes off.
Over the long haul.
Over a childhood.
Watch yourselves closely so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:9
In the New Testament account of Philip and the Ethiopian (Acts 8), we find an apostle following God’s call to, “Go.” Meanwhile, the Ethiopian has gone to worship and is sitting, reading the Word of God on the road as he goes home. Philip ran up to the Ethiopian and asks, “Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replies, “How can I, unless someone explains it to me?” So he invites Philip to come up and sit with him. They read the Word together. The Ethiopian asks Philip, “Tell me, please…” Then Philip begins with that very passage of Scripture AND tells him the good news about Jesus. as they traveled, they came to some water (a next step). When their time together ended, Philip continued to GO and PREACH, while the Ethiopian WENT ON HIS WAY REJOICING.
Can we go?
Can we say discipleship is worship AND a regular diet of reading the scriptures with a guide?
Can we run up to our kids with the Word, then let their guides sit with them?
Can we be ready to be invited into the conversations, but equip the guides?
Can we sit alongside?
Can we just start somewhere?
Can we offer our families the tools to ‘go on their way rejoicing?’
Can we tell them the good news about Jesus?
What has changed?
* 48% of church goers have not participated in online church offerings over the last month.
* Even our regular church-goers are starting to experiment with different faith-formation options for their entire family.
What has not changed?
*Parents are still interested in security and safety.
*Kids learn best through experiences involving all five senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, taste.
*Kids learn to love Jesus by spending time with people who love Jesus.
What we win them with, we win them to. – Frank Turek, as quoted in Mama Bear Apologetics