THE CHURCH AND OUR CHILDREN: GETTING THERE TOGETHER
“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” - Matthew 18:3
For several months now, we have been talking about what we believe about children and youth, their importance and value in our church and community, and what it looks like to be a community of faith for all ages. This summer especially, we've had several opportunities to live out the experiences and live into the questions that help us discover our beliefs:
Our church sent four young people to
Camp Greenwood this summer, where they enjoyed nature, swimming, worshiping outdoors, and making new friends with campers from across Michigan and camp counselors from across the globe.
Several of our Middle and High School students helped pack health kits for they Synod's Mobile Health Fair, and then visited the fair, which inspired us to think about more ways that we can support this ministry.
Two of our High School students and I joined other pastors and youth from our presbytery on a week-long trip to Montreat, North Carolina for Montreat's Youth Conference: A Missing Peace. We played and
Montreat Youth Conferenceworshiped together, and engaged the challenging topic of finding peace in our time, the whole while discovering the many joys and blessings of life in community together.
As you read and see more about these experiences in this newsletter, consider whether our youth and children's ministry is reflecting the values we have been discussing and using to draft a Statement of Faith about Children and Youth for our church. Here is the latest draft:
We believe that Children and Youth are a vital part of the Body of Christ and their participation in our community of faith is essential to the present and future church. God moves through them, and Christ moves them in ways that reveal the Kingdom of God. Both adults and children are equally poised to hear and convey God's Holy Spirit, through our weaknesses and strengths.
We believe we can best support children and youth through a personal, whole-hearted and joy-filled environment free of judgment or stereotypes. We should be open to all types of families and aim to meet them where they are. We have a responsibility to nurture, guide and support the youth and children of this church and this community. We are committed to listening to them, sharing our stories with them and teaching them the word of God.
We believe that our children's ideas about God and worship should be received without fear of rejection. We've got to listen to them, celebrate their gifts and risk trying new things. We value their questions, and commit to walking alongside them as they discern their own answers.
What do you believe? Will you take this statement of faith up in prayer in the coming weeks? Please listen for what the Spirit is speaking to your heart, and let me know what you discover!