Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ
– the One Who Is, the One Who Was, and the One Who Is to Come!
Two phrase have stuck in my spirit over the past few weeks. One is “the answer to how is yes” and the other is “let the little children come to me.” The first statement I heard when I attended a conference in Atlanta and referred to a book written by Peter Block by the same title. Block’s book invites us to consider whether we too often ask the wrong question when we seek to accomplish something important in our lives. We too often ask “How?” which focuses on how we will get the job done and reveals our desire to control of people, time, and cost. Instead, we need to focus on “Why?” We need to pay attention to what really matters to us personally, from heart-felt commitments in our private lives to the creation of projects in the workplace. To be able to act on what matters, explains Block, we must reclaim our idealism.
As I was considering this phase I was pondering the stained-glass window in our sanctuary that depicts the scene just after Jesus says to his disciples, “let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14). Jesus goes on to say, “and do not stop them; for it is to such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven.” How many of us have heard a plea from a Sunday School teacher or a preacher for us to have a more childlike faith? As I pondered the two phrases I remember how children are always asking the “Why” questions and never seem to be bothered by “How” questions. In that moment I sensed in my spirit where we stand as a church.
In the face of needing to pay attention to our children’s spaces, deal with sanctuary renovations, and provide staffing for an emerging generations I find myself bogged down in the “How” questions: How will we pay for this? How will we find new members? How will we …? What Block’s title reminded me was that we need to return to the childlike wonder of the “Why” questions: Why do we exist as a church? Why care about children? Why pay attention to worship or Sunday School? Why, because Jesus has entered our lives and he invites us in big and small ways to beckon others to join us on the journey.
This month we will be asking you to join us for an open house for the Queen Street Academy. You will have a chance to see the kid’s art work, roam the space a little, and spend some time with Bridges and me in conversation about the why questions for the present and future needs for our children’s programs. The following week we will join forces with Stop Hunger Now to provide thousands of meals for starving persons across the world. During this month we will also take time to invite you to commit your resources in the coming year.
I know that asking you to plan your future giving in the midst of current financial stresses is difficult. I invite you to consider two thoughts as you pray about how to utilize your resources in the coming year: First, I invite you to consider the “why” of your gifts and leave the “how” to God, for this is what children do best! Second, if you stand with me in knowing that introducing children to Jesus is crucial, then I invite you to make a deeper commitment to our children and to the renovation of the spaces for the next generation to play and learn.
I give thanks every day that the people of Queen Street Church continue to find a way to say “YES” to God’s future for our life together. I hope you will join me in saying thanks be to God for the saints, sinners, and ministry of the people called Methodist on Queen Street!
Grace and Peace, Allen