What does it mean to be part of the family of God together, young and old? I’ve been fortunate enough to work with children in various settings in Aston, ranging from an open youth club at the Salvation Army, to leading a small Sunday school group at my church where there can be more focus on bible teaching and prayer. God can do amazing work with just a couple of kids, but I am also really excited to be part of a city-wide event that brings together larger numbers of children and their leaders every couple of months. X:site Birmingham is a Scripture Union event with a vision for children to learn about Jesus in an exciting, relevant way, and to be encouraged by being part of a larger community of Christians their own age. A song we sing at the event includes the words ‘when we come together, we become one in this place. The children are learning that each of us is a valuable part of one body of Christ.
Some children that come to X:site, including those from Aston and Nechells, may have limited contact with church. They may not know the Bible inside out, but we see that they love to worship Jesus and to pray, and they bring fresh insight for all of us when it comes to the Bible teaching. At the event we go out of our way to welcome children with special needs, including a profoundly deaf boy dependent on sign language, and a girl with impaired mobility who needs a frame to get around. We want them to know they’re a valuable part of what goes on – putting into practice Romans 12: “…in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others”.
Closer to home, I have been involved in Messy Church here in Aston for the last couple of years. Although the craft activities, the brilliant food and the bible thought / worship time are all important, I think that God’s love is often revealed most in the fact that we can come together in one room and just do stuff together. No matter what age or background, or what stage in a journey of faith we may be at, the conversations and the relationships formed speak strongly of God’s love for us. That doesn’t always mean that we get on brilliantly or that we have all the answers to questions people may have about God. My prayer is that Messy Church will be a place for all who come to feel accepted, and able to grow as disciples together, no matter how ‘messy’ we may think our lives are.
Thank you for praying for X:site and for Messy Church! Please do keep praying for the children and for leaders like myself, as we learn together what it means to be accepted and loved as God’s children.