There is an African proverb that says “It takes a village to raise a child.” The meaning is clear. It takes a whole community of different people over many years and in a variety of situations to bring a child to maturity.
Something similar could be said of raising Christians: “It takes a church to raise a Christian.” Of course, even that is not enough without the grace of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the point is well-made. In our individualistic age I am sure we expect too much of the individual. And I fear we also expect too much of the nuclear family. They cannot do it alone.
I felt this forcibly last Saturday at the wedding of my son Joe to the wonderful Alice. I am so grateful to the many people in our church family – and beyond – who have had a significant spiritual influence in his life. What a joy it was to see this fine Christian man marrying this fine Christian woman. Many of those people were there to rejoice with us. Sadly, it was not possible to invite everyone who has played such a part, while still others were unable to come. If you’re one of them, please accept my heartfelt thanks. And, whoever is reading this, please don’t try and do the Christian life on your own, or to raise other Christians on your own. It takes a church to raise a Christian.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)