Caring for the children
In place of class Thursday, we had the opportunity to attend the 2006 Missiology Lectures. This year’s theme was Children and the Mission of God.
I was able to attend two of the lectures, and after each one, I was glad I had been there. I probably wouldn’t have attended the lectures without it being a part of our class. That alone shows that, at least in my life, the needs of children are often overlooked. For me, I feel God has given me passions in other areas and giftings to pursue those things. But that’s no excuse. And this is an area around the world where so much needs to be done.
Here are a few things from the lectures that stood out:
From Bryant Myers’ lecture: Children in the Midst: Our Mandate
- There are two bottom lines: The well being of the vulnerable is a test of the faithfulness of our worship. The well being of children is an indicator of the well being of society.
- The majority of the children in the world live in the least developed countries.
- When disaster strikes, many people swoop in to make money – often at the expense of the children. In Indonesia, the child traffickers showed up as quickly as the relief workers. How can we protect the children?
- Dr. Myers gave many challenging statistics. Amost 6 million children are in bonded labor – a 12-year-old might work 16 hours a day, six days a week for five years to pay of his family’s $35 debt.
- Girls are less likely to be in school and more likely to be malnourished and victims of infanticide.
- In the west, children are still targeted, but in a different way. Advertising to children under the age of 12 is a huge market. If you convince the kid to get something, you often convince the parent. And young children cannot distinguish between the program and the commercial on television. These ads sell promises that the products cannot keep. Studies show that children are brand conscious before they can read.
- So what can we do? Act like Christ and be the church. Care for and protect the children. Advocate for children. Empower children with the good news of Christ. Look at policies from the perspective of how they will impact the children.
- “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”
From Jude Tiersma Watson’s lecture: Children and the Kingdom: Our Mission
- Dr. Tiersma Watson challenged her listeners to walk humbly while serving those in need. “We are not the great white hope,” she said. “God is the only hope.” It’s not just about “those people.” If someone really wants to help those in need, they’ll empower people to serve. They will stop and listen to people’s hearts before trying to meet an assumed need.
- There is a difference between sending money to help someone and simply walking with them in life. Usually people need someone to walk with them a lot more than they need the money. We need to listen, walk with people, and give hope.