Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate…
Dr Wess Stafford, former president and CEO of Compassion International writes in his book Too Small To Ignore, “No matter what the setting [of society], children seem to be a second rate mandate. No matter what the ill of society, it tends to downward spiral and eventually land with its cruellest and most smothering impact on our littlest citizens. Small, weak, helpless, innocent, vulnerable and trusting, they are waiting victims for our simple neglect and most evil abuse. No matter what goes wrong, the little ones pay the greatest price…Our most vunerable citizens have become the world’s most disposable commodity.” (Too Small To Ignore, 2005, page 3).
Children are often left voiceless in our society. They rely on us, the adults of the world, to be their advocates. So often we do a terrible job of protecting them, and our ‘advocate’ status translates to nothing more than ‘child-minder’; someone baby-sitting the children until they grow into someone who can really ‘offer something’. But it is clear from Jesus example in the Gospels, and all throughout the Bible, that we are charged with being the ‘voice for the voiceless.” Followers of Jesus are to reach out to those who cannot speak up for themselves, and to fight for them.
A few months ago I met with the state co-ordinators for Girls and Boys brigades. Both Girls’ and Boys’ brigades do an amazing job of reaching children of the community, investing in them and their families and training them to be influential Christ-followers in their own communities. Brigades across our state are gathering together in many shapes and forms to give fathers to the fatherless, mothers to the motherless, to build leadership skills and invest in children so that they know their worth isn’t in what society tells them, but in the love of Jesus Christ. I was encouraged to hear stories of boys without dads who came to brigade and now have godly men investing time into their lives and showing them what a good father can be like. There are stories of girls who have been bullied at school coming to brigades to find a place where it doesn’t matter what clothes they wear or how good they are at something, but find worth in knowing godly women want to spend time teaching them about Christ.
Brigades of this state are doing a wonderful job of not just advocating for the importance of investing in young people in our society, but also reaching the community in a tangible and effective way so that churches have a way they can connect with families and build meaningful relationships with them. I was so encouraged by meeting with these passionate leaders of brigades that I asked them to share some of their experiences so that you too could see the difference they are making. Below is a story from Glenda Brooks, the state co-ordinator for Girl’s Brigade.
“During the first week of January, 145 girls and 50 leaders from all over Australia congregated at the Currumundi Campsite on the Sunshine Coast. The theme for the week was “Rise, Shine for your Light has come.” from Isaiah 60:1. As part of the activities for the week, the girls were challenged in the “Shine” sessions by Chaplain Jess Currie to rise, shine and let the Light take over the dark areas of their lives.
At least ten girls made first time commitments and for many the comment was “I have not been walking very close to God but this week has re-awakened my desire to get close to Him again.” Girls’ Brigade is a ministry within seventeen Baptist Churches around Queensland.”
If you or your church is involved with Girls’ and/or Boys’ Brigade, be encouraged that what you are doing is not out-dated or unimportant. You have a real and exciting opportunity to invest in the children of our society and to teach them about Christ and the worth they have in Him, in a way that truly shows Jesus’ love. I hope that this article encourages you as much as meeting with these leaders encouraged me, and that you are led to pray for, invest in and partner with those who are reaching the marginalised in our society. It’s what Jesus did, and it’s what we are called to do. (Luke 19:9-10)
Post date: 14/05/2014 • Post Author: Sally Contessi