Planning meeting last week: lots of time saved, I hope, by having had time over the summer to plan a programme longer than just one term. We now have themes in place until Christmas 2008. Huzzah!
How did we plan? As you know, the question of how to help families along the road of discipleship is very much on our minds, and yet there’s been no call from our families for a separate, more intense discipleship course. Logically then, the discipleship needs to be done in a Messy Church style and in MC time. We might be able to help this along by planning our themes around discipleship and ‘Christian basics’ issues.
I wonder what you would consider to be the ‘fundamentals’ of our faith for families? I think this is slightly different from the issues that a group of adults or even teenagers may want to consider. Set children in the midst and you find you’re in a much more trusting, accepting, openly enquiring mode.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus told us to become like little children in our own discipleship? Cynicism and scepticism have no part in this approach. It becomes inappropriate to begin with negatives that plague adults in the Western world, like ‘What about suffering?’ ‘Why aren’t my prayers answered?’ ‘What about all the inconsistencies in the Bible?’ Instead you find yourself, like the children in Narnia, opening doors, or, like a family planning a holiday, opening a brochure and saying ‘Oooh, that looks exciting – let’s go there!’
Maybe we need to set the positives in place, paint the ideal, tour Eden before appropriate questions can be asked. Maybe an undamaged but ‘journeying’ Christian should be asking later in life, not ‘Why didn’t God heal Granny?’ but ‘How did God answer my prayer for Granny?’
In the latter response, there is a childlike acceptance that God has heard the prayer and has answered somehow, and that true faith is about recognizing his answer, even if it’s not what we were expecting. Maybe discipleship is all about learning to ask the right questions?