There’s no Future Without the Present

In an interview with the Times of London, Leadsom said: “I don’t really know Theresa very well, but I am sure she will be really, really sad she doesn’t have children. So I don’t want this to be ‘Andrea has got children, Theresa hasn’t,’ because I think that would be really horrible. But genuinely I feel that being a mum means you have a very real stake in the future of our country, a tangible stake.”
“She possibly has nieces, nephews, lots of people, but I have children who are going to have children who will directly be a part of what happens next,” Leadsom said.

One thing that can be said of Christianity is that it tends to serve families with children very well. Children’s moments, children’s church, vacation bible school, trunk-or-treat, and any number of other events and endeavors are centered around the needs of children and their parents.

But there’s a whole segment of Christianity who for one reason or another are childless. Children are the future of the church, I know, I used to be considered part of the future. But everyone else is the present and that’s not nearly as important as the future. There’s just one problem – in focusing on the future, they’ve failed to ensure that there will be enough of a present to carry them to the future whenever it arrives. Those of us without kids do have a stake in the future of the church, and the future of those who are in the same boat as us.

We can’t have a future if our present is neglected. It takes people already attending a church to keep it running and going. Without people, it’s an empty shell, a useless building taking up space. It has no future other than to collect dust and slowly decay – like the countless images of abandoned churches in once thriving communities. They have no future because they have no one keeping them going in the present.

I’ve heard so much being said about the need for inter-generational ministry, how Lois and Eunice raised Timothy in a strong tradition of faith. How likewise grandparents and parents can do so very much for their children. But there’s never really been talk about the need for inter-stational ministry, that is, ministry between different stations in life, married and not-marrieds, marrieds and widows/widowers, employed and unemployed. This current idea – ministering best to those who are similar inevitably results in ministering worse to those who are different – quite possibly opposite of where you’re at.

I know, the rules, leaders have to be heads of their households, married to one spouse, whose kids aren’t running wild – which made sense in a Christianity made up of primarily families. But this Christianity finds itself in a world where single men and women now outnumber married couples. In a world where youth put off marriage and having children. In a world where it is out of touch with reality. Unmarried people do have the potential for leadership, and it’s high time that was recognize and encouraged. After all, if it takes families to minister to families, then unmarried people are best qualified and more naturally suited to ministering to other unmarried people. It’s not enough to aim to be inter-generational, we’re overdue to learn how to be inter-stational. All of us have a stake in the future – for some that’s in the form of our children, but we should recognize that not all children will grow up to find themselves married. We need to think ahead about what we can do for them in the future by laying the groundwork of what they will need here and now. A church that wants to look to it’s future must make sure that it’s present isn’t being neglected.

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