I've taken a break from my favourite activity - ironing - to blog some thoughts as I prepare to head south tomorrow afternoon to the bracing Lincolnshire coast for Spring Harvest. I'm working with Powerpack again. Regular readers will know I love them dearly! Blogged about them on at least two occasions and on this same week last year.
I've got a list as long as my arm to get through tomorrow, from finding materials for messy up-front games, to purchasing the necessary lorryload of fruit for the week ahead (Butlins food is..........plentiful........and vitamin-deficient), making some last minute pastoral phone calls, attending the Preschool end of term show, cleaning out the fish, remembering everything we need (EARPLUGS!) for chalet life and......oh!....packing....for four.
Today I worked till 8.30am till 7pm getting everything finished up for going away; communicating with all parties involved in the all age slots of the services for the next two weeks, ensuring everyone in the Easter cover teams knew where they were going and what they were doing, filling in some paperwork for BMS that I should have done last week; finally getting my summer holiday club team recruitment letters out - bless my admin worker today; she was fab!, all age cell admin and prep for the next two meetings - yup, being away is hard work prior to the event but wonderful once you're at your destination; knowing a good bunch of volunteers are not just keeping things ticking over but firing ahead without you :-)
I was teaching at Equip on Monday, our church's two-days-a-week discipleship programme and that which I taught, based on Lausanne occasional paper 47 (evangelism amongst children and families) the contents of which I do know pretty well, has really stirred something up in me this week. I am looking forward to a week away to think about this some more.
LOADS has been spilling around my brain this past month - on this blog you'll have heard my incessant references to George Barna (hey, don't knock large scale research and reflective conclusions), coupled with what I am seeing with my own eyes in children who love, love, love God and want him so much. I've been speaking to groups again recently about how we need to celebrate lifelong committment and love for Jesus from the youngest child onwards and upwards through the age brackets instead of expecting and talking of a period of rebellion away from God. I'm suggesting that we need to get rid of that attitude and expectation of rebellion, spoken or unspoken, and believe, expect and work towards children not only knowing God but walking close to him. And having amazing rallies and evangelistic events where we clap and cheer the thirty-something guest who testifies of a life of..........being close to God and serving him always and never doing drugs or alcohol and the like. How much better is it to avoid the pain and hurt? Is that not worth celebrating? With all my heart that's what I long for and pray for over my own two kids, often when they are asleep.
I'm feeling a real passion about this which may offend. Can't say sorry for being passionate about this (well, I would if I saw you face to face.....maybe!) but yet again (felt some prophetic frustration in this post I fear).... I'm feeling its time for the tide to turn, for us to REALLY take up the challenge of reaching and nurturing children in the things of God - if you win a young person to Christ, they are more likely to follow him all the days of their life, compared to someone who comes to faith as an adult (ref:Lausanne). Dunno about you, but I want disciples rather than numbers. I love kids and their families SO MUCH but I also love the LOCAL CHURCH heaps too and I want them to be an integral part of that. Sometimes I want that so much that it hurts. It pains me to think of children and young people shut away in separate boxes. This "botherment" MUST HAVE been planted there by God himself because if you didn't know this before - I used to not like children - at all - before God wrought a miracle in my life. I didn't even want to be around under 12s. I heard his audible, loud voice. If you want to know what he said you'll have to ask me in person one day!
I may blog briefly from the internet cafe onsite. Have a good week readers!
Perhaps post in the comments section what you will be doing on Monday morning at 11am..... Come on you lurkers - you can go anonymous and tell us what you will be up to on Monday at 11!
me - in Blue 1 amongst another 400 children no doubt singing, shouting, dancing praying or talking with them.