There is something magical about hearing our younger members of the congregation testify.
Daron has a soap box moment! Today my daughter and another young Gateway adolescent stood up before the congregation and shared their testimony...As they began to speak you could have heard a pin drop. There is something magical about hearing our younger members of the congregation testify. Suddenly the Kingdom of God is very raw, real and present! My daughter shared how God had become real to her and how she clung to him especially through some rather difficult challenges in her adolescent life. As I listened to her with tears in my eyes, two things dawned on me as being crucial faith motivators in the lives of our children for their spiritual growth. 1 - Significant God Moments. For my daughter one of those significant moments was as a five year old when her talking, crying doll stopped working and was full of corrosion from the batteries. I told her the doll was broken and would never work again. My daughter insisted that I put new batteries in and try again. Of course the doll didn't work. My daughter told me that we needed to pray. I proceeded to tell her that their was more to miracles than little girls dolls but she was having none of it. She closed her eyes determinedly and prayed a simple childlike prayer. "Dear Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross and loving me and please make my doll work again.".....halfway through the prayer the impossible happened and the doll started working again. I did not realise the significance of this God moment but it was this moment, this miracle, this God moment when the faith of a child and the divine intersected and this provided my daughter with a bedrock of faith which helped her into her teenage years. The question for us as adults is are we sometimes too busy to help our children identify the God moments? Every child needs them to grow in faith and to anchor their faith through the tumultuous teenage years. 2 - The Power of Testimony - our children need to be able to articulate their faith. There was not a dry eye in the house as my daughter shared her journey today. Children and teens need to have moments when they can speak of their story, their journey, their faith and be affirmed in their journey and testimony in front of the assembled congregation. As Amanda Hontz Drury contends, "Saying is Believing". Drury says "I want teenagers to be able to articulate their faith not in order to determine whether or not they are orthodox Christians, but because I understand this kind of articulation as formative for the spiritual identity of the teenager. An articulate faith has the potential for a positive effect on one’s spiritual identity. Articulation nurtures faith and holds pedagogical value in the spiritual formation of adolescents." When are we as a Church providing opportunities for our children to articulate the God moments, to identify how God is working in their lives and to surround them as a "cloud of witnesses" spurring them on in their faith? Drury says "My community helps train my eyes to see where God is at work in my life. My community helps supply my mouth with language to narrate these experiences. And my community provides me with a framework in which I might interpret these experiences." Are we as a church providing our children with such an intergenerational community when they can articulate their faith story? These two faith motivators are catalysts in our children's spiritual journey... The question is are we as a church prepared to motivate, mentor and encourage our children in our midst? Are we prepared to help them identify and experience these moments and articulate their faith along the way? Daron hops off his soapbox and continues to journey along The Way with the children!