Think of the kids in your church. These children we love will be the church of the year 2050. They will need to be disciples as few modern generations before them have had to be. They will need to have spine and heart—spine to stand firm for Christian beliefs in an increasingly hostile secular world and heart to embrace that same intolerant-of-faith world with a love that can’t be ignored.
At Awana, we are calling this public stance in the world Spine and Heart. We know today’s children in 2050 will need high capacity to live publicly Christian—they will need Spine to live unapologetically Christian and to expect respect for their beliefs and Heart to love those in a culture who differ or stand opposed to them.
Spine points to truth. Heart builds a bridge that wins that truth favor. It validates someone else’s perspective, while still disagreeing. Our engagement with the world needs to include both.
The resilient church needs to engage our secular culture with spine, redefining truth and refusing to accept false interpretations of who we are, and heart, loving in word and deed. We especially need to teach this way of engaging our secular post-Christian culture to our children. The year 2050 will require a different way of keeping the flame of Christianity burning. It will be against the tide of public opinion. There will be effort to “silence” it. But unless we all want to live in a world without moral consciousness, we need to continue speaking up.
Tertullian, an early church apologist (160 – 220) imagined the best defense of faith being a good offense. He believed that Christian life as taught in Scripture and practiced in the church was morally superior. He imagined pagans looking at Christians and saying, “Look how they love each other … for they themselves (pagans) hate one another; and how (Christians) are ready to die for each other (for pagans are ready to kill each other). “
What if we were more loving than argumentative? What if when we opened our mouths the love of God came rushing forth? What if the post-Christian secular world saw how we loved each other and how we loved them?
The church needs to commit itself to Resilient Child Discipleship if we hope to face the future with a resilient remnant of resistant and loving disciples.
What is Resilient Child Discipleship?
Resilient Child Discipleship: The process of a Christ-follower committing meaningful, intentional, and consistent time and space to a child or a group of children so that they may know who Jesus is and are known by a body of believers (Belong), to place their faith in Jesus and apply the Word of God (Believe), and to reproduce their own discipleship (Become) so that a third spiritual generation can lead and love like Jesus Christ.