Scottie May Lectures on Welcoming Children

IMG_20130409_140124_919Children provided the focus of study at NTS with the Miriam Hall Lecture in Children’s Ministry
. Scottie May provided a powerful opening lecture on “Why Welcoming Children Welcomes Jesus” and followed with an interactive session on “How Welcoming Children Welcomes Jesus.”

IMG_20130409_132741_682Attendees included the board of the Nazarene Children’s Leadership Network, the important front line for children’s ministry in the Church of the Nazarene, denominational leaders particularly from Nazarene Publishing House. The leaders interacted with students, IMG_20130409_132828_990local children’s pastors, and faculty all day which led to a rich interaction around children’s ministry.  The day included an brown bag lunch as well with attendees.

May’s opening lecture drew from scripture and church history to demonstrate how Jesus mandated the church to attend to children. Her points were quite succinct. First, we need to include children in the worshiping community rather than “absent” them from adult gatherings.

This decision has larger ramifications, May remarked how certain global cultures often “absent” children from adults by suppressing them, often rejecting the gender of girls or converting young boys into child soldiers.

Intentionally including children in the worshiping community (and other parts of the church) speaks against these cultural anomalies. 

IMG_20130409_132732_074However, May also believes… and asserts… that the inclusion of children in worship and the larger life of the community also rests on three basic principles:

• Jesus did!
• Children need and deserved to be welcomed.
• WE need them.

May focused primarily on scriptures that support the inclusion of children, but I IMG_20130331_102548_318was struck also on the need for children to learn the rich culture of faith early in life and also the need for adults to receive from children a larger view of worship.

Scottie then provided a historical account of people who understood this vision and sought to include the experiential world of children as part of the life of the church: Commenius, Pestalozzi, Froeble, Montessori, and Cavaletti. May called for a “radical hospitality” of children as part of the life of the church.

IMG_20130409_133340_363The afternoon session (where the photos were taken) focused on “how” we welcome children. Dr. May pressed the group (NCLN leaders, NPH staff, students, pastors and faculty) to determine what were the “best practices” for welcoming children.IMG_20130409_133330_335Rather than give a laundry list of ideas, May challenged attendees to think beyond “whatever works” to the theological underpinnings of what constituted redemptive practices (versus violent pedagogical practices) that welcome children.

IMG_20130409_134415_159Scottie did present narratives of newer congregations that sought intentionally to welcome children as part of the organic life of the congregation… and narratives of mega churches that also excluded children through entertainment strategies, activities that often freed adults but did not form children.

Overall a great day of learning at NTS!

About Dean G. Blevins

Dr. Dean G. Blevins currently serves as Professor of Practical Theology and Christian Discipleship at Nazarene Theological Seminary. An ordained elder, Dean has ministered in diverse settings and currently also serves at the USA Regional Education Coordinator for the Church of the Nazarene. A prolific author, Dr. Blevins recently co-wrote the textbook Discovering Discipleship and edits Didache: Faithful Teaching, a journal for Wesleyan Education.
This entry was posted in Children, Discipleship, Family, Homes, Leadership, Pedagogy, Practical Theology, Religious Education, Spiritual Formation. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Scottie May Lectures on Welcoming Children

  1. Terry Hedges says:

    Dean, is there a way I could get a copy of audio or notes or any media of this lecture?

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