Rachel Turner is speaking on the Missing link: empowering children’s purpose:
Was ministering in Jersey, and husband whittled wood at midnight in the lounge. Rachel was sleeping away until her husband says he needs to go to A&E but not sure if he had chopped thumb off or a paper cut. It wasn’t a big cut, but he then fainted. Something popped in her back as she caught him! He went to A&E and got a plaster. She was off to Jersey but struggling with the back pain. Started teaching for three days, doing the serious look over the lectern, and then got used to walking in a very odd way. Was taken to a chiropractor, very bizarre experience, flipping you around, and all of a sudden she was healed. Had spent three days walking around with a dislocated hip, got used to the pain, it became the new normal, but fundamentally dislocated from how she was designed.
We’re raising children that are dislocated from how they were designed to be created. Genesis 1. When gave birth to her son she loved him and wanted to cuddle him all the time. Assumed God was the same with us, but the first thing God says is our purpose. Purpose isn’t on the top 50 things for our child when they’re 3. But God said it was so important he tells us from the start.
- Identity in Christ, in who you are, and who you are to God
- Your relationship with God, the closeness, the side-by-side and face-to-face connection
- Your purpose
Adam and Eve knew their identity as children of God, they walked together with God in Eden, and they had a purpose. Abraham is the same. Jesus came out of the water and was given identity, walked with him closely, the purpose of redeeming the world. Jeremiah and more. But we miss tho for our children. Purpose is something we add on later. Yet if we want them to achieve the things they dream of we need to help them have purpose.
The foundational value leads to the practicals, doing the practicals without the foundations leads to confusing the programme.
- Want them to know they are loved, God loves you, God will take care of you.
- And God wants us to be kind to others and pray to him – giving the love away, good sharing!
- Sin bomb! There is sin in the world, you’re doing it, but don’t worry Jesus died for your sins!
- The Bible is really essential to holiness and righteousness, and all the things we should and should not do.
- The world is messed up. Not sure if you noticed it, but the world is not how it should be, and God wants us to help fix it
We keep changing the goal posts, and also when they’re 5 and their mum has cancer they don’t know what to do; when they’re 8 they see a Tsunami and they don’t know why God isn’t doing something. They feel helpless in their faith, they try to pray but they’re not sure if it works and we then wonder why aged 10 they leave.
We need to tell the whole story in a board book style that a little child can understand the whole gospel:
- God is love
- People walked away from God
- Jesus made a way back to closeness with God
- God is active in the world and invites us to partner with him to transform it
- He gave us the Holy Spirit to join with to put love at the centre of everything again
- One day it will all be the way God meant it to be forever.
You can give those basic points with under 5s and talk about the depth of it and what it looks like with 18 year olds. It gives them the whole story, and when mum has cancer aged 5 we can talk about how the world is bad, but we partner together, and we can pray, and either healing or God will comfort us and one day we will dance with your mum. They can make sense of the world with this.
It’s pretty hard to feel hopeless and disconnected when you know how the world works and that God wants to work with you.
The children need to see the God of this story. Too often we hide the active, powerful God, and when it is all about love it becomes God being their sidekick. They need to see the God of action, rescue, strength so that the God who they pray, chat to and ride bikes with is the same God rescuing the world.
You can do this. There’s a lot of practical things we can do. We can create a community that says you’re powerful and we need you to be you; treat them as people called by God instead of a child who can just help me with what we do. They can do things together, we can pray together. We never treat an adult the way we treat a child. All we need to do is look to a kid and say God wants you to do something and we want to make space for that, let’s walk side-by-side. Pivoting from being in charge to walking side-by-side.
Pray that we see children differently, that gives them a place in our world and in our churches.