Parenting is hard. It is really hard. We want the best for our children. It is really tough to see them go through the struggles in life.
There is some truth to the African parable that “no man, woman, or family is an island. It takes a village to raise a child.” The task of raising a child takes more than just the love of a mom and a dad. It takes a great God along with a caring and loving community that offers support in that task.
This is the role of the church. As a parent myself I see the need for this in a great way. I know I need help and support. That is why I want to set a theme to carry into this new year 2012 – “For the Least of These.” The purpose of this theme is to emphasize the role of the church in helping you the parents raise your children to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
As such there are a couple of things I want to do:
- We will kick off a new message series on January 8 called “For the Least of These.” It is all about the church’s responsibility to the next generation. We all have a role in this no matter what stage of life we are in. Some of you who are past the age of parenting young children, but you have some great wisdom to pass down to those of us who do have young children in the house now.
Some of the the things we want to address in this message series is a) the priorities of parenting, b) what do I do when my children wander from the faith?, and c) our mission to “parent” the orphaned (physically and spiritually).
The next thing is we want to hear from you. We know how hard it is to raise children. We are not in this alone, but sometimes we struggle on our own in isolation. We go on and pretend like everything is ok, when everything is not ok. Let’s be real and let’s be honest. Help us help you. Let’s partner together in this. So during the months of January and February we want to set some initiatives in place to hear from you on things like Sunday School, Awana, Morph, Youth, Pre-school and how we might better support you as a church with these efforts. It is not really about the programs. It is about the relationships that are developed between the children, between the children and the church, between the children and the parents, between the parents and the church, and most importantly between the children, the parents, the church, and Jesus. Another goal in all of this is to help facilitate a greater investment on your part in our ministry to our children. Your input, investment, and commitment to the ministry of our children is so critically important in making that ministry relevant and meaningful.
A third item is the children who are orphaned. God needs the church to stand in the gap for these children. They do not have the privilege and support of loving parents like our children have. How can we as a church serve those who are truly “the least of these?” I would love to see a special effort in the coming year to serve our orphan ministries in India and Haiti. Already, Lord of Life does so much for these ministries. This is not even mentioning the more than 100 Compassion Children who have been adopted by you. But can we, with the Lord’s help, do even more? I know that with God, all things are possible.
I am so much looking forward to the new year 2012. Please pray with me that as god unites us as a church body it will be a banner year. Pray a multiplication of people who will be touched by the gospel through our efforts both near and far. Pray for a flowing of the Holy Spirit that when we look back we will recognize that it was only possible by God.