Could play equal God’s love in the mind of a child?
A British group called “The Flying Seagull Project” was recently featured on the BBC for their work of bringing joy and laughter to struggling children; particularly refugees. The group is made up of clowns, mimes, magicians, jugglers, and fun people who take their talents into situations where children are living under oppressive circumstances and help them smile and play. The group doesn’t claim to be Christ-followers, but certainly seem to be carrying Christ’s heart for children.
What can churches take from their example? We might look at similar practical, creative, playful ways to get out into our communities, and bring a little light into the lives of underprivileged or at-risk children. Of course, the European refugee settlements are ripe for this kind of ministry, since many of the children have nothing and can’t go anywhere. There may not be such an obviously oppressive situation in your community, but most likely there are children in need of joy. Why not ask God for ideas on how to connect them with his love through play?
You might enlist the help of the young adults group, have them dress up in wacky outfits and lead the children in games and songs. Or you could present a quick portion of a VBS program, then have the presenters mingle and interact with the children. You might organize a block party in a struggling neighborhood and make sure the children have opportunities to experience joyful play. Have an artist paint quick, silly portraits of the kids. Outreaches (away from the church, in the community) like these wouldn’t necessarily need to be elaborate or professional; you’ll notice that the performers in this video are really just making personal connections with the children and getting them actively involved, rather than just putting on a show.
Has your church tried a creative outreach like this? We’d love to hear about it!