But, today, the speaker was John Hardwick who happens to be a member of the church. His web-site spells out his gifting as author, song writer, creative communicator. As someone who specializes in children's work he was clearly on their wavelength, but what thrilled me was the contagion of his worship leading. Several things hit me:
- song writing, often based directly on Scripture verses, combining words and actions in such lively and authentic ways. Leading with the guitar he engaged all age groups. One long-standing Anglican said to me afterwards: "It couldn't have been more different from our early morning traditional liturgy. But I loved it - it was real.' How refreshing to be able to say that.
- memorable communication - telling good news can be so hackneyed and sometimes (especially when children are present) trivialized. Here was thoughtful, energetic (oh yes), very creative communication which involved children, juggling, flags and plenty of interspersed music. He presented the wonder of the 'biggest family on earth'. His 5 'P's' were clear: Peter, Pentecost, Paul, Philip and....People, when he had the whole church on its feet as we each in turn shook hands with two people.
- love for children - it is obvious how the love of God motivated John and especially focused his skill to excite children about Jesus. Afterwards, we spoke and he commented sadly about some church congregations where children are never addressed. No one should ever underestimate the power of children to learn and to share the gospel.