“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:14
When I graduated 5th grade a funny thing happened at church: I could roam freely and not feel like I was confined to the “children’s wing” of the building anymore.
Along with this new found freedom I moved from The New Adventure Bible to the Student’s Life Application Bible, joined the youth group, began to go on local mission trips, participated in a small group bible study, and started the routine of regularly wearing deodorant. This is the ritual at many churches. Perhaps that is why I was so surprised to see families (parents and children of all ages) acting missionally together last week at one of Peachtree Road UMC’s Family Fun Nights.
Family Fun Night sounds like it is a Wednesday night activity for families to come together and be entertained at the church rather than at Chuck E. Cheese. Yet it is far from this. At my first Family Fun Night I witnessed and joined in with 20+ families who were packing backpacks of school supplies for Atlanta City School children who would otherwise be without them in the fall.
Instead of having the kids play tag while the parents served, the kids served alongside with their parents (and we all played Bingo later). An assembly line was formed and the kids counted out and put one glue, one ruler, one pack of markers, one box of crayons, one pencil sharpener, and five pencils in each backpack. It wasn’t hard and it wasn’t complicated. These kids were participating in the body of Christ and being formed as disciples engaged in the transformation of the world.
Sometimes crazy stuff happens when you let kids out of the “children’s wing.”
What are some ways your church helps children participate in the life of the community?