Thursday, January 3, 2008

Invest in Kids!

“Christianity began in Palestine as a relationship, moved to Greece and became an idea, went to Rome and became an institution, then came to America and became an enterprise.”- Richard Halverson

This is one man’s thought about what we see as the church here in America. An establishment rather than a radical movement spawned out of relationships. The church that we all love to read about in Acts seems like only a utopian fantasy to us now in 2008. For some reason we like the idea but don’t believe that kind of exponential growth can happen, well at least that is what our actions say we believe.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

This movement that created a huge early church that was more like an organism than an organization was because they were living, breathing, eating, praying, crying, praising, serving, they were doing all these things together. Because of their devotion to this movement the Lord added to their numbers daily. The Jewish culture in that day was very family oriented. When Joseph and Mary left Jesus at the temple at the end of feast of the Passover they were not irresponsible parents (Luke 2:41-44). They traveled as a family and thus presumed He was in their company. Eating a meal together in that culture was considered an intimate setting. To be invited to one’s home for dinner was a great honor. Family meals were not on special occasions, they were a normal practice and way of life. Community was great. You can imagine because of this that there was tons of investment going on in the youth. The children would listen to stories from mom, dad, or grandpa. They would be taught and brought up in the way. The idea here is that generations were invested in and thus could carry on these traditions. This culture continued into the church of Acts. That is why the church grew at such an phenomenal rate. Can our local church become like this? I believe it can. Can our youth of today become leaders of tomorrow, continuing to spread the Gospel of the living God, Jesus Christ? I believe they can and will. So consider for yourself, how can we, in America in 2008, become more like the church of Acts. There will be dramatic differences because we do not live in the same culture or have the same traditions, but how can we spread the gospel of Christ and create authentic community of growth in our world, in our communities?

Personally, I believe it is by investing in our youth, bringing them up within the teaching of Jesus Christ.

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