In a way, it was also a fulfillment of Deuteronomy 6, the chapter in the Bible she hasn’t been able to shake. There, God speaks through Moses to the Israelite people, “so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life” (6:2). With a directive to hear and to obey, Moses breathes holy words: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,”—his command one for your own heart and one to impress upon your children (6:5-7). For Trimble, the chapter is a call back to the most central, guiding scripture for how Christians are to live their faith, its prescriptions also the healing balm for broken and failing churches. Just as God pressed a message of love for him and his children into the mouth of Moses, God put this message into Trimble’s heart as well—even if it’s a message seemingly counterintuitive to modern church culture.
“Unfortunately, church culture in the past few decades has tended to infantilize our children spiritually, despite the fact that even secular studies show our children are born with fully-formed spiritual awareness,” Trimble says in an email. Oftentimes, children’s ministry is reduced to “a sweet, token ministry, despite the fact that most people who come to saving faith make that commitment between the ages of four and fourteen. We water down Jesus for our kids and patronizingly call kid’s ministry ‘childcare’ without thinking.” When this happens, children are dismissed from intergenerational worship and seen as a distraction, instead of as an essential part of the church body.
My head nodded vigorously as I read Trimble’s words, remembering the numerous times other adults had turned to me disapprovingly in the middle of a church service: my two young sons had not acted the way they were “supposed to” act in the presence of God, or so their stares communicated. Seen as a nuisance instead of as a necessary, beneficial component, I only wish I would have carried Trimble’s perspective during those times. But maybe my path intersected with Trimble’s now so I might make a difference in the lives of my sons and their classmates moving forward.