Last evening my wife, Nancy, left for Southeast Asia to spend three weeks training children’s workers. This will be a grueling and costly trip for Nancy. Just to get to the capital city of the country is taking her 26 hours. Once she arrives in-country, she will travel to four different teaching venues during the next three weeks. She has been preparing for months, full time during the past month. A dozen generous donors have contributed about $3500 to underwrite travel and other expenses.
Why such a large investment in children’s workers?
There are actually more answers to this question than these two, but these two are enough for me. Why train children’s workers? First, because children are important to God. Second, the church leaders in the country to which Nancy is traveling tend to not value children.
Jesus made his concern for children clear in Matthew 19.
13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Furthermore, he exhorted his disciples and us to become like children in Matthew 18.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3 And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”
With such direct statements from Jesus, you would not expect Christian leaders to overlook children. Yet they do. One of the largest challenges Nancy will probably face during this trip is convincing church leaders that they should support and encourage children’s workers. The leaders will complain that ministry to kids costs too much, is too much trouble, is less important than ministry to adults, etc. They tend to see children only as a distraction from the real ministry. For them, childcare providers are merely babysitters.
Partly as a result of the leaders’ attitudes, the teachers Nancy will be training will be enthusiastic participants in the workshops. They will be delighted that someone appreciates them and has come to train them, especially at such a great expense.
There is a chance that Nancy will find herself embroiled in a conflict with the church leaders. This has happened to other trainers like Nancy. I am praying that Nancy will support the teachers and be patient with the leaders. May she be a bridge builder between these two groups.
For more information see: http://www.kidzana.org