This past Sunday delegates from all district churches came together in Chatham for the Campmeeting Organizing Committee. Elders Randy Saunders and Clara Baptiste co-chaired the meeting. As a devotional thought elder Baptiste reflected on Jesus’ commission to apostle Peter recorded in the gospel of John chapter 21:15-17, where Jesus invited Peter to “feed my lambs” first, and then repeats twice more ”feed my sheep” as an expected response to the question “Do you love me?”
I could not help but smile as just a couple of weeks ago I said that “if you call me “pastor” I must call you “sheep”! Sheep Charles, sheep George, sheep Zak, sheep Randy, sheep Jonathan. We don’t really do that, but we call leaders “pastors” still, as they are metaphorically are shepherds of the flock. Many allusions come from this imagery – its sheep that birth lambs, and the flock should grow not by shepherds stealing sheep from other flocks, but by sheep producing new sheep. Shepherds are responsible to fight wolves, to guide the flock to good pastures, to be good under-shepherds of the Owner of all flocks, Jesus Christ, the Good shepherd. Jesus told his shepherds-in-training, used to be fishermen, that there is a “pretend shepherds” – hirelings, who flee when the danger comes, because they don’t really care to protect the flock from wolves (John 10:12-13), but the true shepherd will lay his life down for the sheep (John 10:15).
It was the word “lambs” that we focused on last Sunday. The very first appeal of Jesus was to feed the lambs (arnia in Greek), and only after comes tending sheep (probata in Greek). Lambs are “baby-sheep,” those who are not probate yet, those who are yet to be confirmed and validated.
As delegates went around the table sharing their expectations from the campmeeting, an elder from the North London, Gwen, shared how their church implemented learning from “Growing Young” presentations – passing the keys to the next generation is their guiding value.
Friends, are we feeding our “lambs”? What importance is placed in our budget for our youth and our children? Are we investing sufficiently in discipling, mentoring, resoursing, supporting, feeding our lambs? We call little pennies we give as donation to children ministry “lambs offering”. The first Commission of Jesus to Peter, which is instructive to all the following generations was “feed my Lambs!”
Dear church family, whatever we do, let’s keep our youngest as our top priority, let’s make sense for our children and youth, let’s consider their questions and interest, and instead of demanding “seniors’ rights and privileges,” lets spend more time with our youth. You will grow younger in the process! As the Nominating time is on the horizon, please consider how we invest in mentoring and feeding our “lambs.”