Church Planting and Children in Crisis
07 November 2014
What has God Been Saying All Along?
By Author: Amy Wilson.
When I was a missionary in Mexico City in 2009, my husband and I worked with street children. In an attempt to help get the children off the streets, we helped a local church open a community center. This particular church had an average attendance of 100 people weekly prior to the community center’s opening. Classes for children, as well as adults, were offered. The response from the children during the first week was amazing as more than 40 children came to take a variety of classes or to receive tutoring. The children who started attending the center regularly told their friends and families about the classes offered. Curious family members started checking into the center to see what it was all about, and many began taking classes as well. As the children began spending more time at the community center, they started learning more about the church and receiving invitations to come from the church volunteers who were teaching the classes. Many children from the center began attending the church regularly, which in turn led many more curious family members to come as well.
As a result of this one church stepping out in faith to reach the children in crisis and at risk in their community, there is now a typical attendance of over 300 people in this particular church. Additionally, another community center has been opened with a sister church, which has also seen substantial growth. All of this growth has occurred within a five-year period in an area that is often known for slow progress! This particular example is our personal experience, but we know of many others around the world who have seen similar results, all because of children leading their families to experience the same positive and life-changing messages they are receiving.
With countless stories such as these, I am often so saddened and baffled when I hear of yet another church or another mission agency saying, “We only want to focus on church planting now; therefore, we are going to focus our energy on that and not on ministry to children at risk or in crisis.” Irritation builds up inside of me each time this is said, and this irritation used to be directed at these churches and agencies. However, God has helped me to see that my feelings have been misdirected. The irritation should be toward the enemy instead. Satan has devised a very clever scheme to take the focus off the children at risk and in crisis because he realizes the value that God has for them and what a vital part they play in His eternal plan.
As you read through this edition of “The Barnabas Letter”, I hope you receive a new or renewed passion to include children in crisis in your church planting effort. Please pass this edition along to others and encourage them that Jesus’ desire has not changed. But Jesus called the children to Him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly, I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like little children will never enter it.’ Luke 18:16,17 NIV