Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vision Accomplished

Life holds many ironies. Here's the latest I've noticed in our life.

When Reid reached about 3rd grade, Sunday school became a virtually impossibility. Worship time was engaging but breaking into small groups for discussion was Reid's cue to wander the campus. The entirely auditory exercise without visual support was beyond his ability to comprehend.

That year, I was serving as an Age-Level Coordinator, so that I could "float" and supervise, not teach, thereby be available to troubleshoot the classroom where Reid was. Sounds great in theory but one awkward Sunday morning it all came to a head. I never officially resigned, but they knew I was done. With one desperate glance and a furtive sigh, I looked up harriedly at the interim director of Children's Ministry and said, "I can't do this!" We haven't spoken since, beyond a polite "hello," nor have I been solicited to volunteer again.

The most expedient way for us to "do church" from that point on, was to have Reid join us in the sanctuary. Although we did it under duress and stubborn refusal to skip church, let me itemize the reasons why this might be preferable in the grander scheme. I realize them only in hindsight.

1. Reid practices the adult life skill of attending in a large group
2. The service is predictable and structured, therefore "safe"
3. Leaders from the pulpit are more consistent than the Sunday school volunteers
4. He experiences worship and more music--his best comprehension channel
5. The pastors recognize Reid
6. Reid knows his pastors
7. Our church family participates in Reid's progress
8. Friends are reminded of "the least of these" Jesus came to save
9. Friends around us are blessed by Reid's uninhibited singing
10. Reid is around people with typical language and behavior to model

Any others come to mind?

Here's the irony: Our church has recently embraced a shift in perspective on Next Generation ministry. Junior and Senior High students are being included in worship once a month and there is an expressed goal of flipping the ratio commonly associated with Children's Ministry and childcare settings. 1 adult to 5 children seems a safe and nurturing ratio. The church is aiming to reverse that so that 5 adults know every 1 student by name, care about them, even pray for them as they leave for college.

For once, (or as usual?) Reid is ahead of the game. Practically everyone knows his name! Even the Panera clerk where we religiously head afterwards. She has his "usual" bear claw and lemonade plated up before we reach the front of the line.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9

Jacob said, "Please tell me your name
." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. Genesis 32:28-30

1 comment:

  1. We're in that battle right now. I honestly don't know what to do with Rhema - she simply cannot sit in the main sanctuary for more than a minute or two. The children's worship is also a bust. Right now the solution is to have someone walk the halls with her or run around in the fellowship room or even hang out in the nursery. While it's a temporary fix that allows me to actually attend the service (AND I AM GRATEFUL), I do wonder how it's teaching her anything (or the rest of the church, for that matter) about how to behave in church.

    An interesting discussion a couple of weeks ago about autism and church on Incipient Turvy: