Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.06.19)

This Sunday, September 8, we will be recognizing two great servants of God for their ministry to children, both at Parkway and at other places. Bob and Paula Parris have worked in children’s ministry for their entire adult lives. Bob has served as a children’s minister and curriculum writer, and Paula, while teaching school, has been his constant ally and co-worker in this crucial area of Christian service.

I have had the privilege of working closely with them for over twenty-five years, both here and at another church where Bob and I served on the staff together. I have not known any couple that has been more committed nor worked harder in caring for children and their families.

This recognition also presents us with an opportunity to emphasize how important ministry with children is to the Parkway family. In an intergenerational church like ours, all of us, whether we have children in the program or not, care deeply about how they are receiving Christian education. I am especially pleased to have someone of Jane Redman’s ability to carry on the kind of work to which Bob and Paula have given their lives. And we could not ask for a more dedicated, loving group of volunteers to staff our ministry.

You are probably aware that a crucial religious trend today is to gather people in one huge church, then segregate children in programs that remove them from any intergenerational experience. A particular consequence of this trend is that children may never worship in any sort of reverent environment until after college. This almost certainly contributes to another growing trend: young adults not returning to church after they have completed their education.

Every chance I get, I commend you parents who resist the pressure from your children to attend larger, more “entertaining” churches in favor of having them involved in a ministry where many of us know them personally and are deeply concerned about their spiritual development. Please know that we want to be responsive to your family’s needs, while providing a program that complements the spiritual development that they should be receiving in your home.

Sunday’s emphasis is an indication of how important our children are to all of us in the Parkway family. Whether you have children involved in our ministry or not, I hope you pray for them. They aren’t just the future of the church; they are an integral part of the church today.