Partaking in Family Ministry is a Royal Affair

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“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” Matthew 19:13-15

Throughout the past few weeks I’ve returned to Matthew’s account of children coming to Jesus to receive not only blessing but also validation as people worth time and teaching and touch. Notice how Jesus’ disciples try to guide these children away from their shepherd, likely believing the master teacher had more pressing and mighty people to bless. No, says Jesus, my kingdom belongs to them.

These verses in Matthew are often crumpled and faded from overuse in songs, rhymes, and primary-colored board books. So much so that their words were lost on me until recently, when a time of silence led me to rethink how even I, a mother of three and a Children’s Pastor, can take lightly the call to disciple our young.

Most Sundays I get to lead a group of students down the long hallway to the school cafeteria where we learn together. Children race their fearless teachers to the double doors, then enter the large cement room and find the familiar rugs that mark their spaces, classrooms, and learning communities.

We have less than thirty minutes together. It can seem insignificant. Sometimes pillows are thrown and stories about friends and dogs seem more pressing to the children than accounts of a locust-eating prophet.

But we must continue to chase our children down halls and through dialogue because these are the kings and queens of God’s kingdom. They are inheriting all that He has, which is everything. We would never scoff at the offer to dine with Queen Elizabeth II for a half hour evening. Partaking in family ministry, mentoring, or parenting is a royal affair.

So now I arrive on Sundays and, as silly as it seems, picture our children wearing jeweled crowns as they dart ahead of me. I sit beside them. They offer me a pillow. We place felt figurines on a blank blue backdrop, pray, write out God’s promises, fold paper nativity scenes, build towers, examine pictures of locusts, read His word, and learn to be kingdom-dwellers.  I teach. They teach. I learn. They learn. We feast together on fresh clementines, lovingly dropped off by a fellow congregation member. We roll up our rugs. We prepare for eternity.

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