The theme of this year’s Orange Conference was a phrase I have been accustomed to using while raising my two daughters. Whether three a.m. feedings, temper tantrums, or separation anxiety, I’ve learned that no one trial of parenthood lasts forever…each is “just a phase.”
On the flip side, I know about how all the sweet innocence of childhood is fleeting too. One day, trips to the playground, footed pajamas, and baby dolls will be things of the past. They too are “just a phase.”
Before this past week in Atlanta, however, I hadn’t connected how, as these phases of childhood pass, so do opportunities to be sharing the love and salvation of Jesus with our children.
Now, you may be saying, “Stacy, you work for the church. Of course you’ve been teaching your kids about Jesus.” Yes, Mark and I try our best to share our faith with our girls, but what the Orange Conference impressed upon me was the need for us as Christian parents to be intentional and strategic. Childhood is over in the blink of an eye, and now is our chance.
Our conference host Reggie Joiner put things into perspective. “A hundred years from now, the only thing that will matter is a person’s relationship with God.” Wow! In the end, it won’t be important if my child becomes a professional soccer player, receives a college scholarship, has a Pinterest-perfect birthday party, or eats nutritious home-cooked meals. What will matter is the relationship she has with God, the Father. There is no greater gift I can give my child than to introduce her to Jesus.
As our church adopts Orange philosophies and embarks on a new strategy of ministry with families, I am excited, both as a Children’s Coordinator and as a parent. I see an opportunity for us, as a family of faith, to work together to reach the next generation for Christ. I, as a parent, can’t do it without you, the church. And I, in ministry, can’t reach the children of O’Fallon without you, the families. We need each other.
I invite you to join me in committing to be intentional…to spending time, energy, and prayer leading children to the peace and joy of knowing Christ. I’m not saying it will be easy, that we need to be perfect parents, or that there’s a magic recipe for success, but I do know our efforts will be worthwhile. The legacy we will pass to our children will be eternal and not “just a phase.”
Children Ministries Coordinator