Kids can say and do things that touch your heart and move you like no one else; perhaps because of their nearness and closeness to God. Jesus declared in Matthew 18:5, “And whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me.” Jesus is saying that the heart of a child is in the throne room of God; that whoever ministers to a child is ministering directly to God and receives God in humility. Strange as it seems, across America today, many churches who claim the name of Jesus, place children as their last priority.
The law of sowing and reaping is a Biblical principle that governs all reality. The Apostle Paul says in Galatians 6:7 that if you think you can fool God, you are only fooling yourself. You will harvest what you plant in life. Children have been and always will be the key to every culture’s success or failure. Ultimately, those who have invested wisely in children’s lives through godly training and love will reap life and peace whereas those who have invested wickedness and rebellion will reap death and destruction.
You know that really is a hard question at times! I asked myself that question when one day we arrived at one of our Sidewalk Sunday School sites. We had just pulled up to the location when a man at the rear of the building opened a window and began firing an automatic weapon onto the parking lot below. At least ten police patrol cars converged on the Housing Project from three different directions.
At the end of our meetings Children’s Activity Truck we have a time when we pray for the kids. Many of the kids need prayer for school to pass grades and tests. Some have trouble at home with parents who are drug addicts or in jail, sisters who are pregnant or fighting or abuse between family members or neighbors. But one prayer request seems to occur more often than others especially with the younger kids is, “Will you pray for my grandma?”
I often get the opportunity to visit and preach in a variety of Churches and I have found something quite interesting. Many times the Pastor will try to encourage the congregations to reach out with the Gospel to their neighbors and family and bring them to Church. The next week they have the same empty seats and basically the same people. Why is this? The answer is simple if the people in the church wanted them there they would already be there.
One of the greatest things we stress in our ministry is faithfulness and availability. Inner-city kids and their families have no real example or role models that are consistent, faithful and honest. The inner-city is made up of children, single moms, lost and confused teens and grandmothers. Most of the men eighteen to forty-five are in jail, dead, on drugs or completely unemployed. There is little male leadership and certainly few godly role models. Distrust and fear rule the streets and we have found that faithfulness and loving these kids consistently is the only real way to help them.
I think for the first nine-years of inner-city ministry here I had a plan to reach the inner-city kids of Houston with the CAT Truck. I would wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to the inner-city today and find a place to start a service.” It was like I would just drive by a project and say, “Okay here it is, let’s put the CAT Truck over there in that parking lot where those guys are dealing drugs.” I remember one Christmas Eve we did a service in a parking lot in front of a liquor store with prostitutes turning tricks on the side.
It takes a lot of faith to knock on the doors of our kids especially in the particular neighborhoods they live in. While the world is a dangerous place and as Christians we understand that the Bible declares in I John 5:19 “We know that we are the children of God and the whole world around us is under the control of the evil one.” While yet this being true God has called us to testify his Gospel to the children and families in this wicked world’s darkest places and by faith we go to the very doorsteps of murder, theft, violence; drug addiction called by the Bible “the habitations of cruelty” to reach these kids for Christ.