This last week I was interviewed for Synod and one of the questions they asked was why should we invest in Emerging Gens?
My answer was a pragmatic and practical one: If you want to grow the Church and have a pipeline of leaders, you need to invest in Young Adults. If you want young adults to be active in the church, you need to invest in youth ministry. If you want young people passionate about Jesus you need to invest in children. All of this is true and logical, but we are not a scientific community we are a faith community, followers of Jesus and his teaching and let me remind you on what he says…
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17
Here is the real answer, we should invest in Emerging Gens because our salvation is tied up to theirs. According to Jesus it is children who can best teach us how to receive the kingdom, not us bestowing our wisdom on them.
Sometimes in the church, we can get so caught up in trying to make sense of our faith or do the business of the Church that we lose sight of what it means to be the people of God. Children challenge us, they are not afraid to ask the tricky questions, they dance when they are happy and grieve when they are sad. They genuinely delight in others and the world and want to share that with us. They want to run and scream and play and they want us to be part of that world. Here Jesus challenges us to take a leaf from their book.
As we prepare for Easter may we remember at every opportunity that the kingdom of God is not for adults only, but that it requires children to help adults get there.
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. Matthew 21:14-17
Do you hear what the children are saying ?
Karen Mitchell-Lambert is ordained in the ministry of Deacon and is the team leader of PULSE.