During four Mondays in August and September, SENDAS hosted a Continuing Education course for pastors and leaders through its online study platform (CANVAS). The course was attended by 20 students, all pastors and leaders from countries such as: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, USA and Mexico. This course was conducted under the theme: “Strategically Ministering to Children: a view through the 4/14 window”, and was taught by Dr. Dan Brewster, renowned writer on childhood, who has served for many years in Compassionate Ministries and as advisor to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries at the Global level.
Many topics surrounding children which should be part of the conversation in our churches were discussed taking as a base text three of Dr. Brewster’s books: “Childhood, Church and Mission”, “Children and childhood in the Bible” and “There Is Still the Youngest” (not yet translated into Spanish).
In his lectures from Costa Rica Dr. Brewster addressed issues regarding the strategic importance of children and adolescents, and their biblical and contemporary role in the Missio Dei (Mission of God), examining some of the more than 1400 Bible passages that include children and their theological significance. He presented us with the reality of “the 4/14 window”, where we managed to determine that children, more than any other group of people, are receptive to the gospel; and therefore, the Great Commission applies to both children and adults.
In addition, the class concluded that in churches that are growing, most of the new converts are under 18, so it is important to understand that around the world, children, adolescents and young people represent the most fruitful mission field and the most promising missionary force. Then, as a church, we must keep in mind that one of the main concerns of any responsible adult should always be the welfare, protection, provision and training of children. If the church is really going to develop an integral mission for children, we must be side by side with them, welcoming them as full members of the whole church, since boys and girls are vulnerable agents of the mission and partners of the church in Missio Dei.
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