Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Celebrating the children in our midst

At Cascade Hills, we have known from the beginning that children and children's ministry would play a huge role in the sort of church God is calling us to be. And despite such knowledge, we've had a hard time making this concrete and specific in our first few months as a team. We were able to carve out time for kids during Cascade Hills Summit, but during our home community gatherings and our Sunday morning worship encounter, we've struggled a little bit knowing how to involve children in our community life.

Now, much of that is beginning to change. We have a person on our team that has the time, resources, experience, and training to help this become a reality. This Sunday, we will be gathering together to worship God, and in that context, we will challenge one another to champion the spiritual formation of our children, whether we are parents or not.

One resource that has been valuable for our team is Postmodern Children's Ministry, written by Ivy Beckwith. Drawing on years of experience, education, as well as ancient practices of faith, Beckwith encourages us to emphasize the role of the family in the spiritual formation of children. To this end, the church community has a role in supporting, enabling, and empowering families to take up this critical task. This is precisely the kind of community we want Cascade Hills to be.

"While the church community can--and certainly should--be a safe haven for children, it simply cannot compare with the sheltering safety of the family. Families provide unique models of God's love, justice, and forgiveness." Ivy Beckwith, Postmodern Children's Ministry, p. 111

In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders—great and terrible—upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household. But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers. The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness." Deuteronomy 6:20-25.
At Cascade Hills, children belong in the midst of our community--they are not merely welcome. They bring value and richness to us and enable us to participate in great conversation of faith that has passed from person to person, from elder to children, for thousands of years.

May God empower us to be faithful in supporting our families as they take up the awesome responsibility of passing on the ancient faith to our children.

1 comment:

grace said...

Hi. I seem to randomly be finding blogs that suit my interests (got to this from Eric's). I go to a church whose youth group is going through some awkward transition time started by our youth pastor but he's on sabbatical now and I really don't know what to think of our group. His blog (Radical Sabbatical) mentions a bunch of churches... "the Emerging church" I honestly don't know what this means. Yeah... I'm rambling now... check out his blog if you'd like... attempt to clarify my confuzzlement if you choose and if you don't whatever. I wish you the best of luck with your church.