People often comment to me about the children at Savior: “I love how the kids are so included” or “Pastor Mary gets my kid.”
What’s behind those comments is a deep commitment to children and youth. I was trying to explain this at our Welcome to Savior dessert recently, and here’s what I came up with (on the fly, so much more could be said):
* We take children’s spiritual lives seriously. They are not just “the church of the future” but “the church of now.” They experience God and pray and take in the Word of God. In our ministry to them, we don’t think, “How do we entertain them?” (not that fun is bad) but “How do we guide them in their spiritual lives?” A child this Saturday, in the younger room, commented on the mystery of Ascension, “Jesus went away so that he could be with us always, at all times and everywhere.” "
* We involve them throughout our life together. As our staff plans, we make sure the children and youth are fully participating with us—as musicians, acolytes, dancers, Bible dramatists, worshipers, missionaries. They help teach all of us, lead us, add to our joy. As Pastor Mary says, "When we don’t find ways to integrate children into the life of the church, the church misses out. Our worship can become too heady, our fears grow out of proportion. We need to be reminded that God has asked us to cling to our unyielding child-like faith that God can do it all; that God loves us; that God, in his very mysterious way, is truly with us, even in us."
I am thankful for Pastor Mary, for youth mentor Rick Page, and for the many of you who serve our children and youth.