It Takes a Village

We have all heard, probably many times, the advantages of having a support system when raising children. Our family has certainly been blessed with that. So, we say (or at least we used to) “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Yes, our children are often times in need of so much direction and guidance. There are so many things they have to learn about themselves, about their faith and about who we pray will be their Lord. Many families seem to be satisfied in handling their own child-rearing, alone. It’s my opinion having that neighbor who will yell out the window when they see something they know is wrong or the family friend who is allowed to do the whooping because you know how much they care is sadly a missing element in many of the lives of our children.

There are two things I would like you to do now. First, stop thinking about raising children. Secondly, reread the paragraph above. This time, however, replace “our children” as the subject with “the church” (conjugate where necessary).

Done? If you’re an Oak Havenite (our biblical badge) then you will hopefully have been paying at least a little attention this morning and caught the idea of this post.

It really does take a whole village to raise a village—in this case, a church to raise a church. There are plenty of those in our congregations that aren’t willing or bold enough to stand up for matters of great importance, but there are others who will. Some of us are ready to ignore social responsibilities of our church while there are those who truly feel their faith is incomplete without addressing them. The hands of many of our church members would fall off if put to work; others need not be bothered by committee meetings or reports—just tell them what needs to be done. Does that cover the nosy neighbor and spanking friend well?

Don’t stop being the church. One of the great comforts in my life as an ancy Methodist minister who is always moving around (ahhh, am I speaking of churches or sermon execution?) is that we confess a connected faith. Not only are we intentionally tied as United Methodist congregations, but our faith is one that is inclusive of other denominations (or nons), and we share in a connection to the many generations of saints before us. The question for me is: How do we live faithfully as people of God if we isolate ourselves from them?

It’s only fair I remind you that there are those of us who don’t live hiding from other Christians, but do show up for roll call. These are the people who know that you “have to” go to church. They’re there, but they’re not there. Is that the same or any better than staying apart from the community? The more driving question for me, as you probably already know my opinion about the others, is how do we incorporate those living in isolation (literally or figuratively) into the life of the church—and I’m not talking about putting people to work.

Of course, if you’re reading this blog you know that’s why it exists. So, I might be preaching to the choir (or praise team—let’s be relevant). That’s okay. The choir needs to be saved, too! Stay blessed…john

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