We have often been asked what the Emerging Church movement or the emergent conversation is all about. We usually hesitate in our response since we are still grappling with what it means, even as efforts are underway to unpack and articulate this recent phenomenon. You may have come across buzz words such as “missional”, “postmodern”, “postcolonial”, “contextual”, “friendship”, “local”, “justice”, “safe place”, “culture” and “story” that are often used in the context of discussions about the Emerging Church movement. In this article, we have put together excerpts and references that explore the subject in an exercise likened to ‘eavesdropping’ on the conversation. We will also share some developments that have been taking place here in Malaysia.
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Second Thoughts on Children and More…
by Sivin Kit
“The church’s ministry to children is broken…It’s broken when church leaders and senior pastors see children’s ministry primarily as a marketing tool…Something is broken when we trivialize God to our children…It’s broken when we depend on our programs and our curriculum to introduce our children to God—not our families and communities…And perhaps most importantly, it’s broken when the church tells parents that its programs can spiritually nurture their children better than they can.” —Ivy Beckwith in Postmodern Children’s Ministry
My involvement in church as a child was sporadic, preferring basketball and kung fu on Sundays. I started attending regularly as a youth. After seminary, my main focus was as a youth and worship pastor; so it wasn’t until recently that I even really thought much about children’s ministry.
Like in youth ministry, people who are passionate about children’s ministry desire something that goes beyond mere babysitting. They’re concerned about a fragmented, or departmentalized, view of adults, youth, and children. Rich Melheim from Faith Inkubators shocks me with this statement from the U.S., though we in Malaysia seem to be no different:
“The church is the last place in America where all six living generations are gathered together every week under the same roof. And what do we do the moment we get there? We segregate them into separate rooms. That’s bad stewardship. Worse. It’s stupid.”