In his keynote at the recent Families in Mission: Summit 2015 (Feb. 7th, First Pres. Church at Garden Grove) Prof. Dave Scott (Fuller) informed and encouraged us: “Childhood is the great mission field that’s a huge blind spot in our mission strategy today.”
“As American adults, Christian adults … we know that when it comes to mission in our churches, children just aren’t important…. You may protest, no, no … but that’s been the implicit message… Picture a missionary in your head… mostly likely it is an adult, male, white … talking to other men, in a village somewhere, planting churches. The problem is that picture is almost completely but entirely unlike the reality of mission in the world today.” Now you can listen to his entire keynote on Youtube: Children in Mission By Dave Scott
Abstract: Christian missions have been decidedly ambivalent about the value of children. While Christians have earned a reputation of protecting the lives of vulnerable children over the past two millennia, some have argued that this has been more commonly motivated by the desire to preserve the image of innocence that children represent than a real appreciation of children for who they are and what they contribute. But in recent years changes have been taking place. Churches, denominations, and mission agencies have been reevaluating the importance of children in their formal and informal mission strategies. Concern for vulnerable children is increasingly being perceived as a legitimate missional enterprise, and the role that children can play as evangelists in their families and communities is suddenly a worthwhile topic for serious missiological reflection. In this session we will consider some of these developments, along with the biblical texts that are informing them, in order to adjust our perception of children, and in turn reconsider our own roles as children partnering with our heavenly Father in his Mission.
Dave Scott first started working with children at risk in 1998 when he and his wife, Charity, began ministry with Viva, an organization committed to founding and supporting local and international networks of Christians who work with children at risk. Since that time Dave has helped to establish training programs on children at risk in colleges and seminaries around the world. He is currently on faculty at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California.