Try and picture me, I was simply standing on the stage in front of the 98 children and their leaders who had gathered for the event, with my eyes shut and the room in a semi state of silence.
According to T.S Eliot, ‘Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.’ It can be all too easy often to love the safe and secure, to know the boundaries of a situation, how far we can safely lean over the edge and look down without a risk of falling.
On the face of it, we weren’t doing anything that scary. I certainly wasn’t putting myself in any physical danger. That didn’t stop my heart pounding away as I stood there, wondering what the next few moments could bring.
We were in West Norwood, in London, working amongst Trinity Baptist Church; a church Arise has had links with for a number of years now. Annually on the third weekend in January, Arise lead a Children’s Worship Rally on the Saturday and then both of the two main meetings on the Sunday.
This year in many ways was like the previous ones; so accompanied by the YFC band The Sense we headed over on the Friday night initially to share with the children’s team the details of the Saturday programme and to pray together. The following morning we arrived ready to set up and by 2pm were all set to go.
What was strikingly different this year though, was the programme wasn’t one of worship, the sharing of a bible story, the unpacking its message, plus some games a little bit of craziness thrown in, as has broadly been the case over the year’s. This time, rather excitingly we were piloting part of a new initiative amongst children, that Arise has been working on called Pigs might fly, part of The Rooftop Ministries.
The vision for Pigs might fly is about seeing children joining Jesus in His mission to the communities they are a part of. Key to this though is not us simply coming up with ideas, strategies or plans and encouraging children to get involved, it is not even about the children coming up with the initiatives or schemes, instead it is about waiting on God, seeking Him and receiving a fresh vision of His heart for the lost and acting on that.
Through the unpacking of Acts 10 and Peter’s rooftop encounter (including amongst other things the building of cardboard box rooftop) we had already invited the children to think about questions such as where do they go, who do they meet and what do they do within an average week as they live their lives? They had shared what words such as vision, seeking, lost and mission meant to them and with the help of half a dozen sacks of recycling and load of sticky tape, labels and pens created their community out of ‘junk’.
So there I was standing on the stage, having moments previously shared how we were going to spend some time seeking a fresh vision of God’s heart for the lost. With the head pastor of the church standing at the back (having invited him to join us for part of the afternoon, this was the moment he came by) I opened my eyes and speaking to the room, asked ‘so what has God said’?
The children in their different age groups then gathered together and shared amongst themselves what they felt God had been saying, His vision that he had been imparting to them for the community they live within.
To be honest the remaining hour is something of a blur. The children fed back to the wider group, we prayed, worshipped, began to consider the question ‘so what we do we do about what God has said’ and before we knew it our time was over and chaos ensued as we sung and danced amidst loads of balloons that we released as we celebrated all God had done.
As I shared with the children, Peter could have received the vision from God and just put it down to something he ate for breakfast not agreeing with him, but he didn’t. Cornelius’ men could have showed up only for Peter to think he knew better and not go with them, but he didn’t. There are many moments within Acts 10, where a choice had to be made, to receive from God or not, to join with Him or not.
So Pigs might fly continues to develop, be drafted and worked on, with churches already interested in piloting it with us. We really want it to be something that those who work amongst children and children themselves will help to shape, but more so hear from God on, as we continue this adventure.
If children joining Jesus in His mission is something that excites you, if seeing them receive a fresh vision of God’s heart for the lost of their community is something that you want to see, if you believe the time for this is now, then we’d love to hear from you and see pigs fly where ever you are. To find out more please email PigsMightFly@therooftop.org.
– Ed Jones