Most of you probably would not know, but I am currently in Melbourne attending the AUC (Australian Union Conference) Constituency meetings in 2015. It’s a mouthful, but basically these meetings deal with church matters from the union level down. Many leaders give departmental reports and each conference is asked to give a report about how they are doing as a conference in their various areas of ministry (success and growth in churches, schools, aged care facilities, etc) and what is happening currently within that conference. As delegates to the meetings, lay people, pastors and administrators also have the chance to ask questions about the reports given and vote on church matters.
In terms of today’s meetings, I’d like to highlight some areas of concern and the possible solutions about issued raised.
1. Threats to the Well-Being of the Young
Guest speaker, Professor Patrick Parkinson of Sydney, made a report on the mental health, family and other problems young people are facing today. Some alarming statistics came out of his presentation.
2. Discipleship of the Young
In a different discussion today, we heard that in terms of children’s ministry, the ongoing trend in research shows that if children make a decision for Jesus they will most likely do so in the 0-9 year age bracket. This means that our focus on reaching the young needs to be intentional and done so in this time of their lives when they are most receptive to Jesus and the gospel message. Currently as a global church we could be doing a lot more to be reaching this people group before they leave the church.
In light of this, how can we respond on the local level to prevent the loss of our young people? How do we relate to the community at large who have kids and teenagers who are suffering and self-harming?
As Professor Parkinson noted, our answer to the second question lies in much of what we do and provide in terms of helping families. In terms of the first question, I believe that if we as a church have healthy, Christ-centered families, we will have healthy, well-functioning children. While this is not a complete answer by any means, what we do personally in our own families is important; and how we as a church foster and develop resources, ideas and practical ways of helping to strengthen families, will make all the difference between struggling and healthy families. And it means we are more likely to see our young people not only well, but we will see them saved and in the kingdom of God.
May we do our best as a church to help families so they can help their children to become followers of Jesus.
Thought for the week...
We wish to thank...
This week we wish to thank who are involved in helping with sound/data. To have willing and effective workers who put up song lyrics or announcements on screen, and to have people who will help with sound, is a real blessing. We may not always thank you, but you make everything go smoother in our church services each week- so for that we say thank you :)