Child-Like Leaders?

Photo Ben White on Unsplash.con

Text: Matt 18:1-5

Beloved Children

By Greg Town Churches Learning Change

I know very few adults who wouldn’t bristle if another called them a child or childish. It would certainly heighten my defensiveness and cause me to hear little of what the other would have to add. Being child-like wouldn’t seem to rise to the surface as a trait among church and community leaders, yet throughout Scripture God’s people are referred to as children of God. And we’re told by Christ that unless we change and become like a child, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We’re also told to put aside our childish ways and live in maturity and love (such as 1 Cor. 13 and 1 John 3). 

The mixture of God’s Word shows us the ways of being child-like without being childish.  We are guided into the recognition of our ability, capacity, and calling to act out of thoughtfulness, maturity, wisdom, and love rather than out of our childish reactivity (like conflict, distancing, blaming, etc). We are shown again and again that God’s people are to remain centered in a child-like humility, as we look to God for provision and love. 
And perhaps that is what it means to be a child of God as an adult who is called to lead within Christ’s Church, to center ourselves always in the love and care of God, just as my own children come to me when they are hungry or hurt or in need of something they know they cannot obtain without the care of a loving parent.  Unless we start in love and in our belovedness in God, our work and our being will be misguided by self-ambition, pride, and shame.
In what ways do you remain connected to your belovedness?  

When do you find it most difficult to say that you are God’s beloved child? 

What could it mean for you to remember you are God’s beloved child, at all times, through all things?

The work of the Spirit’s transformation in Christ and our work as leaders is remaining child-like while also growing in maturity. What better season than Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany to surface the child within us, in all the belovedness, wonder, vulnerability, and courage of a child! 

 

Beloved Is Where We Begin

If you would enter

into the wilderness,

do not begin

without a blessing.

Do not leave

without hearing

who you are:

Beloved,

named by the One

who has traveled this path

before you.

Do not go

without letting it echo

in your ears,

and if you find

it is hard

to let it into your heart,

do not despair.

That is what

this journey is for.

I cannot promise

this blessing will free you

from danger,

from fear,

from hunger

or thirst,

from the scorching

of sun

or the fall

of the night.

But I can tell you

that on this path

there will be help.

I can tell you

that on this way

there will be rest.

I can tell you

that you will know

the strange graces

that come to our aid

only on a road

such as this,

that fly to meet us

bearing comfort

and strength,

that come alongside us

for no other cause

than to lean themselves

toward our ear

and with their

curious insistence

whisper our name:

Beloved.

Beloved.

Beloved.

— by Jan Richardson, from Circle of Grace