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Providing a positive contribution where you belong; practically, emotionally and spiritually.

When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took him to task. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?”  (Matthew 21:15-16, The Message)

We all know that experience is what counts. So – that means doing. If people are going to grow in faith, they have to live faith or at least experience life alongside someone living faith. Participation is about experience, belonging, and finding purpose.

What churches can do for;

Children

  • Be intentional about allowing children to be a part of the church community.
  • Welcome children into intergenerational worship.
  • Ensure that they participate, use their gifts and feel that they belong.
  • Give children equal opportunity to contribute and have a voice.
  • Guide and mentor them to participate in meaningful ways.

Adults

  • Seek to have all members of the community feel they belong by giving them ownership, purpose, and a voice.
  • Seek to discover adult’s spiritual gifts and involve them in those areas.
  • Help all adults to grow confidence in connecting with others.
  • Elevate the value of speaking hope into their various relationships both within and outside the church.
  • Mentor adults to help adults grow, and to guide their contributions to be most positive.

How families can intentionally involve each other

  • Intentionally and age appropriately involve children in the working and decisions of the family.
  • Welcome children into worship by making it relevant and accessible for them, and sharing the leadership.
  • Share responsibility within the family for chores so that all have an important part to play.
  • Involve the children in discussions about family values, rules and culture, as well as fun decisions like holiday ideas, etc.
  • Guide and mentor your children, as you are the adult and ultimately responsible.

How couples can intentionally involve each other

  • Remember you are a partnership. Consider each other, and give each other equal involvement, say, responsibility, etc.
  • Make your worships relevant to both of you, switching leadership and learning styles to benefit you both.
  • Ensure both parties feel they are equal participants in the marriage.
  • Ensure the free flow of communication to keep both partners engaged.
  • Collaborate on decisions, share responsibilities, actively empower the other and be fast to nurture each other.
  • Pray together regularly, so that God can be guiding and mentoring you both.

“To participate in the life of the faith community, children need to be a part of this community. And to be a part of the community they need to be present for its central practices. They need to rub shoulders with all sorts of folks who make up this community…. They need to be seen as active and valued members of their faith community.” (Ivy Beckwith and David Csinos, Children’s Ministry in the Way of Jesus, 2013)

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