I have been positively impressed by the attention my last two blog posts have gotten. Thank you for the many comments on line, and in person. You have motivated me to purchase a book titled, Welcoming Children; A Practical Theology of Childhood, by Joyce Ann Mercer. I’ve started reading it and will share some of her teaching and research through my filter. I do believe this is a leadership issue. Perhaps a warn-out saying is that Christianity is just one generation from being extinct. What are we doing as Christian leaders to equip the next generation in being transformed by the power of the gospel and share that with others around the world? We find that two generations after Joshua the message of God had become mute. Joshua’s generation had not led the way in making sure the following generations knew about the God of Israel. I can’t get over this passage of Scripture found in book of Judges chapter two:
6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.7 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel.8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years.9 And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash.10 And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.
Do you read it the way I do? Two generations after the great Joshua verse six says these people did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. They didn’t know about the parting of the Red Sea. They didn’t know about the manna or the quail or the fiery pillar or cloud that guided Israel. The two generations before had failed them. No wonder they were not obedient to God.
So at our church — at least & maybe yours — hundreds of families on Saturday evenings & Sunday mornings do something truly counter-culture. They bring their children to church. In our county it’s only 15% of the population that attends a church on the weekend. In some of your areas it is far less than that. So how do we welcome these children that have traded sports, arts and travel to do something truly counter-culture and come to church? Have we thought through how we can best guide them in worship and learning? I know at our church we have dedicated staff that work all week long so that when our children do something truly against the culture they are rewarded big time! Are you a part of the welcoming committee?
How does your church welcome children? Are you a part of the welcoming committee?