Call me a rebel or maybe I’m a little crazy, but I love the idea of children being in the adult worship service. Now before you start pelting me with i-bibles, yes, I have been seated with multiple small children through many worship services. And yes, I know it can be distracting for the adults caring for them and the adults around them. In the rush to make sure the adults aren’t distracted though, I think we are depriving our children of something very special.
In the Old Testament, God spends quite a bit of time encouraging the Israelites to make sure their children know the Law and their history as God’s people. When the Law was read to the people, the children were to be present. Parents were to discuss the Laws of God constantly with their children.
Having been involved in more than half a dozen different youth ministries in three regions of the country, I was interested to see what Jeramy and Jerusha Clark had to say about youth ministry in their book After You Drop Them Off. After decades of being a teen, becoming a volunteer in youth ministries and now as the parent of a teen, I have noticed a change over the years in teens and their parents.
While some things have remained constant, I believe we will see a major paradigm shift in youth ministry over the coming decade. With parents working long hours, at least one non-present parent becoming more common and some parents who are tired of parenting releasing young teens to their own devices, teens are beginning to parent themselves more than ever.
Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to a new way of helping hurting children. She found this group after adopting an older child who had been raised in a “less than ideal” environment. Since our family does a lot of work with orphaned and abandoned children, I was interested to see how the program works.
I saw a great idea on Pinterest that originated on the Kids With a Vision blog (a neighborhood outreach in Newport Hills). Their group is K-3rd grade, but I really think any age group would benefit from this service project.
Often when we run across homeless people, a lot of us freeze. We want to help, but then we hear the voices arguing in our heads about helping versus enabling addiction and other things. So next time, instead of fighting with yourself or your family about whether or not to give a homeless person money, hand them a “Caring Bag” instead. The bags should help meet some of the person’s current needs. You can even place a referral card to an agency that can provide the person with more in depth help.
I have a confession to make. I rarely ever make a recipe as written. Coming from a long line of “dump” cooks (who don’t measure at all), I am brave enough to experiment and come up with my own version of printed recipes. It’s no wonder, I tend to do the same with great ideas for teaching children.
I don’t really remember where I saw the original ideas (although Pinterest is always suspect!), but this combination of several might become a holiday tradition for your family. Call it the “Joy Challenge”.