Leadership Line with Dr. Swanson

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

As we continue our shift away from an attractional model of ministry and toward a missional model, learning to live missionally in family, neighborhood and vocation, we are no longer about numbers, but about people.  As such, we want to hear and celebrate the stories of what God is doing in the lives of His people at First Presbyterian Church.  For months now, I have been asking this question in every meeting I attend:  “Can you share a story with me about where you’ve seen God at work in and through our church?”  

I could share many, but let me tell you a very common refrain I have heard over and over again:  “Having our children in worship has changed them and it’s changed our family.”  This is where God is having an amazing, transformational impact.  One mom described the adjustment her family had made to attending worship at a new time, but then exclaimed, “But it has been so worth it!  To stand there – all four of us – singing together – or holding hands and praying – or watching my daughter sing loudly because she has learned the words – has been more than I could imagine.  And now when we drive home, we’ll also try to sing some of those songs.”  Other Moms and Dads have recalled tears watching their children learn how to express their worship of God.

Yes, we’ve had to make some adjustments to have them.  Yes, it breaks the “flow” a bit to watch them leave and parents return.  Yes, there’s a little more noise, but look at the fruit being born!  I absolutely would not trade it for anything.  

On Sunday, October 13, I will be preaching on the idea of “spiritual transformation.”  God calls us right where we are in life, but He doesn’t leave us there.  A church living missionally is going to be one in which her people are being transformed.  Our lives are a process of sanctification as God, by His Holy Spirit, shapes and molds us into the image of Jesus.  One of His primary tools is worship.  Worship transforms us, and even when our children cannot grasp exactly what is happening, it is absolutely transformational in them.  You’ll hear one such story on Sunday – a six-year old boy who didn’t even speak English, yet who was changed by being in worship at First Presbyterian Church.   I hope you’ll be here this week so that together, in worship as God’s gathered people, He can continue His transforming work in us.  

To God Be the Glory!


Nadine Marcelin