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what i'm saying to volunteers {after alton, philando, dallas, nice, and baton rouge}

for the past 2 sundays, i've spoken during our volunteer morning huddle -- on the importance of raising a new generation to notice, respect and care for each other. 

it's been important to me to not lead sundays as i typically do, going along as if these sundays are the same as the others, because they're not. people were {and continue to be} senselessly killed. i'm not able to teach kids about jesus and his ways -- without mentioning these horrific events. 

if it's helpful to you -- here's what i'm saying (to volunteers): 

today, we have the opportunity to raise a new generation. a generation of kids who will notice each other's similarities and differences, and in the act of noticing, see the image of God. what we do today is our contribution to changing the way the world is currently operating. one in which people's differences are seen as threats, not signs of beauty. 

we have the chance today, to encourage kids to see each other, care for each other, and be reminded that we're all interwoven. that your well-being is my well-being. that the full image of God can not be represented in this world without each person living the life God created and intended.

what we do today is not babysitting or free childcare {because i'm not interested, really, in either of these} -- what we do today is our contribution to fixing what's broken, and helping to bring God's kingdom to this earth. today, we raise a new generation to be leaders, advocates, and allies for those who are mistreated and marginalized. what we do today matters. BIG TIME. 

here's what we can do practically: when a child notices another child -- encourage him/her! even if the specific noticing creates tension or awkwardness. affirm that a child has really seen another child, and say, "he/she is created in the image of God. the differences we see in each other show us the full picture of who God is." 

also, today we can create safe spaces for kids to ask questions about the shootings, even if we don't have answers or if it creates discomfort in us. i believe, church should be the safest place {for all of us} to ask questions and express doubts. let's provide this for our kids.

finally, we can teach children what it looks like to follow jesus, and walk in his ways as peacemakers. sarah bessey in her book out of sorts says that we are not called to be peacekeepers {maintaining status quo, not causing disruption, not speaking up for injustice}, but called to be peacemakers. peacemakers MAKE PEACE where there is none, which typically involves speaking up, leading up, and calling out what's broken. ask kids to identify the brokenness, the ways in which the world is not as God intended, and think about how they might create and bring peace. affirm their idenity as peacemakers. 

this is the way of jesus {i believe}, and hope for my own life, and for this next generation of kids. 

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