In a society that did not listen to children, or value their potential contributions, Jesus was radically inclusive and loving. In the Gospels, when people were bringing their kids forward for Jesus to bless, the disciples tried to break up the scene. They saw it as a waste of their Teacher’s precious time. Jesus, however, stopped them and declared “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!” (Matt. 19:14).
At Bethel we are seeking to follow Jesus’ example as best we can, by making sure this is a community of faith where children are heard, valued, and invited to contribute. I heard a great story from our Children’s Director Christie Thomas that captures this well. Recently Bethel’s kids made sandwiches for Edmonton’s homeless citizens. Christie writes:
“We were learning about Abraham and Isaac, and how God provided a ram for the sacrifice on Mount Moriah. The kids learned that very often God’s provision comes at the hands of human beings that he works through people. So I asked each child to make a ham and cheese sandwich and pack up some other items for lunches for the We Care ministry downtown. I was so proud of them, because only about 3 of them wished aloud that they could have a sandwich or a bag of chips, and the rest of them made the lunches without complaining at all. Many kids wrote note cards with encouraging messages to tuck inside. We ended up packing about 80 lunches. The volunteers that morning did an amazing job of working with a rather chaotic situation, and I had several that put in extra hours to wash dishes and help reorganize for the second service.”
I share this story because it is one example of how children, often “under-the-radar,” serve and use their gifts at Bethel. Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who regularly commit their time to teaching, encouraging, and mentoring these young disciples of Christ! God is glorified as they grow and serve!
- Pastor Ryan
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