In July, my parents made the long flight down to Pretoria to hang out with our family for a few weeks. We had such a blast. Then towards the last day they were with us, we had a family Christmas. One of the toys they brought with them was a baseball pitching machine. You put six plastic balls in the top and it spits them out at you. I think I was more excited than Ezra was for that one!
Several times in the course of the week, we take this very strange toy to the park by our house. Lately, we’ve been taking the Zimbabwean kids who stay on our property with us as well. You wouldn’t believe how many conversations get started as I stand and proudly watch my boy belt another shot towards the swings. It takes all of 30 seconds for every other child at the park to rally around and get a little game of “chase the white ball down”. It’s awesome because none of these kids have ever experienced baseball. (They play the ugly step sister game cricket… just kidding ;)).
I’m convinced that way too much money gets blown on strategy meetings for becoming more missional. I think we forget how simple a plastic ball can bring people together and kick off really interesting conversations. I think we’ve shoved our kids off on the chid care workers instead of incorporated them into mission. Ezra teaches me that every time he asks me to take him to the park and I’m just too tired to do it. I’m always glad when I submit to my ministry partner. All of our kids get it. Keziah plays mommy with the other little kids, Malachi chases the balls with the other short people (demanding his turn to swing the bat from time to time), and Ezra sits back coaching the other kids how to hit it.
What a tool for the kingdom. We didn’t have too many strat meetings with the kids for that one, and it cost us whatever Grandma blew at Walmart that afternoon.
Lesson: listen to the kids, because they take you into the spaces where life is happening… and that’s where the kingdom needs to get to.