The Clark family are off to Gothenburg and we had the pleasure of interviewing them last Sunday at church. You can see more by linking on to their blog here. As they shared, something struck me. You see initially, it is easy to think they are crazy. I mean who moves a family from London to Sweden? Who goes from the comfort of a church like ours to a small collection of christians who can fit in one house? Our Life group is bigger than their church! As the time to go counts down, so you get the sense that they know they need to be ready to face the challenge. In the video of the interview on Sunday, you can hear Emelie share about their concerns for the kids as they grow up. They have asked us to pray for them as a family that as the kids grow, they will grow up to know Jesus and love him and not conform to the culture. That is when it hit me.
The Clark family know what they are getting in to. They are preparing for it. They are going to a country where there are a small number of people who follow Jesus. 8 out of 10 Swedes consider themselves atheist or non-religious according to a 2014 study. They know they will have to intentionally teach their kids of Christ if they are to know him and love him. They know they will have to think through parenting in this sort of culture. They are expecting the schooling to be entirely secular and therefore they will have to engage with it at home. They are expecting their kids to be the only kids in their class who go to church at the weekend. They are prepared to be different for the sake of Christ.
What about us who are planning on staying? Chessington is not as hostile to the gospel as Gothenburg, but we are not a million miles away. Many of our neighbours consider themselves non-religious or atheist. We should be teaching our kids of Christ if we expect them to know him and love him. Yes, we may have a few more groups than they can go to, and our church may have a few more people at the present time, but really our parenting should be no different. Maybe we should think of ourselves through the same grid the Clark family are using as they move. They will one day open their door on to a street where few know Jesus. Maybe we have been opening our door to a very similar situation but just not known it?