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Child development

Here’s an excellent thought from AquaChurch 2.0: (page 306)…

The first four years are absolutely as critical to spiritual and moral devleopment as they are to social and intellectual development. A child’s spirituality begins before it is born. Churches that help parents understand and address a child’s “learning windows” from the womb onward will lead the way. If working parents can expect nursery-care centers to stimulate their child’s intellectual development from day one through a variety of stimuli, why are our churches lagging behind in offering children sounds, images, and touches to stimulate their spiritual imaginations as well?

I currently teach preschoolers ages 3-5 in an early childhood center that recently opened only 3 months ago. Parents and their children are visiting and touring everyday to investigate the school. They’re interested in our programs, our routines, our activities, and our curriculum. They’re looking for those activities that stimulate children’s intellectual development and encourage them to explore activities and learning centers.

The preschool and children’s ministries in our churches need to offer activities and curricula to stimulate children’s spiritual development as well as the spiritual development of parents. After all, education (including Christian education) begins in the home.

Our family center buildings with rock-climbing walls, water parks, and bowling alleys are great ways to open the doors for children and their families, but our churches need to provide them with spiritual nourishment as well. We need to provide stimulating sounds, images, and touches with lessons straight from the Bible.

Life Lessons

In AquaChurch 2.0, Len Sweet gives us lessons called “All I Ever Needed to Know I learned from Noah” (page 242).

1. Be prepared. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

2. Stay fit. When you’re 600 years old, someone might ask you to do something REALLY BIG.

3. Don’t listen to critics. Do what has to be done.

4. Build on high ground.

5. For safety’s sake, travel in pairs.

6. Two heads are better than one.

7. Speed isn’t always an advantage. The cheetahs were on board, but so were the snails.

8. If you can’t fight or flee, float.

9. Take care of your animals as if they are the last ones on earth.

10. Don’t forget that we’re all in the same boat.

11. When the doo-doo gets deep, don’t complain. SHOVEL.

12. Stay below deck during the storm.

13. Remember: The ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic was built by professionals.

14. If you have to start over, have a friend by your side.

15. Woodpeckers on the INSIDE are often a bigger threat than the storm outside.

16. Don’t miss the boat.

17. No matter how bleak it looks, there’s always a rainbow on the other side.

Live life on the edge

I’m continuing my reading of Len Sweet’s AquaChurch 2.0.

We need to live life on the edge; live on the edge as Jesus did. “The action is on the edge, not the center” (page 170). When we move away from the edge, we are moving away from Jesus. He is on the edges, in the margins, and beyond the boxes.

We should live on the edge, take adventures, have experiences, get out of the comfort zones, challenge our minds, do things that may be uncomfortable for us because things are different, unusual, and out-of-the-ordinary. Living on the edge shows great faith in Jesus as well … like the scene in “Indiana Jones” where he walks to the edge, there seems to be no way across, he takes one step that looks like it is in mid-air but a bridge pops up and stretches all the way for him to walk across.

Faith is walking to the edge and taking one more step. Are you living and walking on the edge where the action is?

Be a risk-taker

In AquaChurch 2.0, Len Sweet tells of a sign over the door of a church (page 131). Excellent advice for anyone, in any situation, in any stage of life, in any career …

Enter at your own risk.

God is doing a new thing.

Take risks.

Retrieve life by risking it, Jesus said.

Besides, that very plank that you used to get on board can also become the very thing that saves you from drowning after a shipwreck.

Big things, small packages

Big things can come in small packages. Big ministries can come from small churches. Len Sweet reminds us, in AquaChurch 2.0, that small companies are changing and re-creating the global economy and many of those companies have less than 24 employees (page 121). This fact should make the small-membership church reconsider its futures.

These small churches matter and can make a difference in God’s Kingdom, though they sometimes need encouragement and support from larger churches. When the majority of a denomination consists of churches with 100 members or less, shouldn’t we hear from those church leaders instead of the mega-church leaders who pastor 15,000 people?

Those small church leaders aren’t going to stand out in the crowd because of their low numbers. Our denominational leaders need to get out there and find them, talk to them, support them, encourage them, help them. There are so many small churches; our leaders don’t have to go far to find one, probably just around the corner from their mega-church building. They can send a small group of committed Christ-followers to that small church to help with ministry projects. Yes, we help churches with ministry projects on mission trips but those trips are usually to another state. Why can’t we help fellow churches and Christ-followers in our own communities where we live?

Let’s stop competing with one another and start reaching out to those who need Jesus.

Throw the anchor & pull

I love the metaphor Len Sweet uses on page 88 of AquaChurch 2.0. We must be anchored in the Bible, yet continuously moving forward. We must cast our anchor ahead of the boat and pull ourselves forward with the rope. What an image!

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