Thursday, November 06, 2008

How do we welcome and minister to the young?

(from Joy Perkett)
In light of the recent Christening at CWM, I feel moved to write and reflect on the Children's Ministry. What does it mean to promise to raise up children in the CWM community and how can we as a congregation do that best? Children's Ministry brings up a lot of relevant questions for the church. How do adults minister to children? How do we convey a full sense of welcome and inclusion to our children? What kind of atmosphere do we want to provide for our children? Moreover, how do children minister to us as adults? I would encourage everyone who reads this post to reflect on the issue, and if they feel it is relevant, comment and respond with their own thoughts.

In my opinion, I think there is a lot to be gleaned from the questions that children ask. Elie Wiesel writes that "Every question [possesses] a power that [does] not lie in the answer." Children and adults both ask very different questions and both perspectives are crucial in learning about and understanding God. The questions children ask often encourage adults to see things afresh or to ponder questions they have not thought about in depth. As Elie Wiesel says (the following is his quote, but made inclusive), "Humans raise themselves toward God by the questions they ask God." Well if that is the case, perhaps the best way to raise ourselves towards God is through a communion of the inquisitive minds of adults and children together. Let us never cease to learn from each other and let us never cease to ask questions!

1 comment:

Jeffrey said...

You are suggesting that we raise children by listening to them or following their lead I think. That has some wonderful possibilities, but how does that affect curriculum development?

And since you cited Wiesel I though I should add Heschel and Chapin.

Heschel begins his philosophy of religion by basing it on wonder. I kept thinking of that childlike wonder some of us lose and how helpful it is to nourish it.

Harry Chapin, the folk singer, has a wonderful song about education. The song tells the story of a little boy told to paint flowers in green and red when he wants to paint them more because "there are so many colors in the rainbow . . ." The song ends by wondering about how we can teach all of our children to sing "there are so many colors in the rainbow . . ." It seems to me that Christian Education/Formation has to be about that.