(In The Life Of The Church)
The Stages of Faith Development
1 Corinthians 15:58 "your labor in the Lord is never in vain."
A friend of mine--a mentor figure really--communicated something to me that i've repeated many times. In fact, I've unofficially adopted it as an approach to faith. We were talking about faith development in the life of people and he noted that,
your children's pastor to be a fundamentalist
your youth pastor to be an evangelical
your young adults pastor to be a deconstructionist
your senior adults pastor to be a mystic"
Maybe it's because it's seemed to describe my own journey so well, I clung to what he said. It makes sense. I think it also gave me a sense of relief. As someone who has moved at least to the third stage in that development I've made guessing games out of what it means to raise a child faithfully in the tradition of faith that I identify with.
Having pulled my own suppositions apart, I was apprehensive about handing my children some of my own hurdles. But this proposal made space for the way I grew up knowing faith, it even asked for it.
Consequently, the person I've spent the most time thinking through this with is Emily, our children's pastor. Very often we work together on the scriptures that we are teaching. One of the things this collaboration reveals is the difference in the teaching points and pedagogical techniques we use for different audiences.
Israel begins with Torah -- the rules, the concrete. For that reason we teach our children the concrete and the simple. This takes form in teaching them the stories and letting the questions of faith arise from that starting point.
Still I sometimes wonder what exactly my children are learning. Have the consistent times of prayer before meals and bed taught them anything? Do they understand the words we sing together on Sunday mornings? Have they heard the things I have told them about Jesus?
One of the more special moments of our vacation came at the beginning. We sat down for dinner at my parents the first night we got there, and my dad, who is unofficially the Gandalf figure in our family asked my kids if any of them wanted to pray. Roy volunteered. I was slightly surprised, not because I question his faith commitment, but he's usually reluctant.
What ensued was a thoughtful, articulate, heartfelt prayer in which my son acknowledged God, expressed gratitude, supplication and asked for blessing. When he was finished I didn't say anything, but inside I was floored. When, I wondered, did all of that get inside of him?
I listed that verse from 1 Corinthians because I believe it's true. My, my wife's, Emily's, UBC's investment in my son's faith development has not been in vain. But that thought within me is quickly tempered. God is at work in my son as well. We are teaching him the stories, the language, and movement of Christian faith, but God is bringing it alive within him.
And God is at work within me and you and all of us even when we can't see it or feel it. Even, I say, in moments when you feel far or distant. Your commitment and your faithfulness are never in vain. We are all becoming someone and leaving someone else behind. A previous version of ourself. Be encouraged in knowing that God is at work within you.
Special Thank You From Waco PD
In June we raised money to support our local Waco PD and their families in the aftermath of the Biker shooting incident. The following message was sent to me this week. Proud of everyone who gave to this.
I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to you and your church members for the Hawaiian Falls tickets that were given to our police family. While the tickets are nice, it is the fact that you all thought about us that is the most important!
Thank you and yours, be safe.
August 9th -- Carter Care Blood Drive
On Sunday August 9th, we will be hosting a blood drive at UBC, and we would love for you to participate by giving back to our community. The mobile bus will be here from 9am-1pm for you to donate, so come before church, or give on your way out. If you have any questions, please contact email@example.com
Grillz & Chillz - August 12th - 6:00 PM @ the Haines
Our next all church hang out will be coming up in a few weeks, look sign-ups in the foyer this week.
No Sunday School
Sunday School is done for the summer, looking for our Fall classes to begin on August 30th.
Work is Worship
Greeters: Blaylocks, Evie, and Gerhardt
Mug Cleaners: Sara and Vince
Sunday Sermon Text: Exodus 20:2-4 "The Worship Hour Part 1: Why We Gather"
Waco dives: We will meet at Dubl-R Burgers, on Tuesday @ noon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
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