School is in session throughout the United States and end of summer/back-to-school time frame was the catalyst for some reflection. My wife and I were discussing how — throughout the last year and a half of a global pandemic — the Church has, in many ways, been a steady presence for children when they needed it most. In other words, you and I may have made a difference in ways we didn’t realize.
The local church is one of the last places in America that — in theory anyway — is not attempting to always be the center of every news article or social media post. For children especially, this is an important distinction from other organizations and a safe place for them, because it’s a place where Christ is sought over the limelight.
The local church is a place where children are treasured, loved, celebrated, and protected, much like they are in the family with Mom and Dad. I believe the argument could be effectively made that safe places for children are tough to come by in the 21st century.
We see churches helping children with everything from food to school supplies, with the expectation of nothing in return. Children are taught the Word, told about a Savior who loves them unconditionally and are able to function in an environment that doesn’t judge them based on the latest fashion or how much money their parents make.
Reflecting back on my years growing up in church (by my recollection, our church would be what I would classify as spiritually healthy), I recall a pastor saying that we needed to pray for elected officials but never disparaging them or calling them by name. In part due to that upbringing, I say the same thing to this day — we need to pray for those in authority, whether we like them or not.
Our churches have served as vaccination sites and serve as a sanctuary (no pun intended) for our children from the complete nonsense of all types — sexual, political, monetary, and otherwise — served to them 24/7 everywhere else.
This matters to you and me because we are weary, with no end in sight. But our faith matters. Putting our faith into tangible action matters. Because you and me — the local Body of Christ — serve as the hands and feet of Jesus in a difficult time, to our children most of all.
Christopher Dixon is chief operating officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo. He is also a Word&Way trustee.