I love being a part of the work God is doing at Asbury United Methodist Church. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us and he had called us to proclaim good news, to offer help for the struggling, peace for the anxious, and healing for the broken and broken-hearted. I watch this ministry played out in a lively fashion on a regular basis.
One of the gifts God has given to this church is a gift of patience and caring. I saw this so vividly during our time of Worship in the past couple of weeks. Most Sundays our children go off to WOW Worship – a time of worship designed especially for children (and we whole-heartedly try to make it just that). But on the past two Sundays our children stayed with us for a couple of reasons, and that always makes things a bit more… well, let’s say energetic!
From where I stand looking out at the congregation I can see the energy of the children and the challenges of their parents. Some have to be physically picked-up and brought back to their place. And, no matter where any one is, they can certainly hear the energy of the children at times. What I don’t see are adult faces with frowns or cold stares. What I don’t hear are mutterings about children being a disturbance to the service. People smile and nod knowing most of them have been there themselves. Children are greeted enthusiastically during that time of the service. This church loves families and loves being a family together, and that shows.
I am in a time of prayer right now about our families and children and our times of worship. Some of our leadership team members have explained that in their prayer time in the Sanctuary they saw children. But it wasn’t the case of having children in worship to learn how to “do church” – I mean how hard is that to teach? I could do that in a couple of weeks time for any child who had never been in church. What we’re striving toward is a way to include children and families in the time of worship in a real way – beyond a children’s time and maybe even beyond a children’s choir (though that is one idea that would be well received by the church and I believe by God).
I’m praying because the ideas are not yet formulated. I’m praying because the seed seems to be working its way through the soil and may soon begin to poke a new shoot out into the open. In other words, I can feel the idea in my head like a small object in my shoe – I don’t know exactly what it is, but I do know I can’t ignore it.
Do you have ideas? When you pray about this, what images does God bring to mind? I’d love any help that spurs us onto the reality God is calling us into.
Holy high-five to you, Mike