As I sit to write today's MMM I'm aware that I need to be careful to keep it short and to the point. There is so much I could write on this - indeed I did when I wrote my 49,523 word thesis "as a Little Child: Children in the Theology of John Wesley" as part of earning my MTh (Master of Theology). That was the culmination of a year of full-time study engrossed in the life and work of John Wesley as he related to children. A year I feel blessed for having had the opportunity to concentrate fully on what for me was a life-changing study.
It might surprise you to learn that Wesley - a man who God raised up to spread scriptural holiness - a man who unwittingly founded a new movement within the church, a movement which is now one of the five largest world communions of Protestant Christians (the others being Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, and Reformed) - that he treasured children as a gift of God so much that he went out of his way to teach them especially when he was near Kingswood School - the school he founded, built and staffed. It is clear that he knew that if Christianity is to survive and grow children must be taught, must be incorporated into and must feel part of the church - because if they don't, when they are older and able to decide for themselves, they will not be the church because they have walked away from that part of their lives.
It was a Children's Ministry course exactly half-way through my BAppTheol that God used to convince me that I had heard his call to The Ministry right and that he was indeed calling me to The Ministry (I had earlier in my studies decided that I'd heard wrong - but that's a story for another day).
It's why I have a burden for children and youth and for seeing them linked into and feeling part of the church - the body of Christ. It's why I am passionate about finding ways for them to be active participants in our services - using their God-given gifts to bring us closer to God, to help us hear from God in the same way that "adults" do.
Imagine people of all ages - "adults", "youth" and "children" leading sung worship, leading our prayer time, bringing the message etc. Imagine if we all worshipped together as equals. This is "Intergenerational Ministry."
In case you haven't realised it that is what we've been doing in our Sunday services since we began worshipping together in-person since lockdown. Thanks for your patience as we work through what Intergenerational Ministry looks like for us. The trial and error we are going through will be worth it for me, and I hope for you, if it means more of our children and young people remain part of God's church (wherever they are) for their lifetimes.
Ok - so this isn't as short as I had planned - but that's what happens when we talk about what we are passionate about! :)
Have a blessed week - may you have an opportunity to learn about God's love from a child or young person.