I believe that is how the old saying goes…”it takes a village to raise a child.”  I never really understood the point of this saying until I was in to my twenties.  I know that my parents raised me, and, all things considered, I have to say that they did quite an amazing job.  It wasn’t until I was away from home that I realized how much impact other people had on my life growing up.

First, there was Mr. Maristany.  He was my fifth grade teacher.  He was also the best teacher I ever had.  I kept in touch with him ever since I left Pinecrest elementary school.  We stayed in contact up until he passed away last year.  He taught me that every student had value, and that parents were not as dumb as kids think.  He also taught me that the most important thing that you could ever do for someone, even someone who did not like you, was make sure that they knew that you loved them.

Then there was Dave Blalock.  He was my boss at the University of Miami.  He was an ornery old man, but he served his country in two wars, and believed that anything worth doing was worth doing right.  He taught me the value of a good days work and that our country, no matter how flawed, was worth fighting for.   He may not have liked everything about our country, but he was ready to defend her, even if, at this stage in is life, it was only with words.  He taught me to be thankful that I lived in a place that allowed me to disagree with my government, and worship how I wanted, without fear of death.

Finally, there was Simon.  He was my first Sunday school teacher.  He was fun and loved each child that was in his class.  We knew he loved us, even when he sided with our parents.  He taught us to respect our parents, and our elders.  As a matter of fact, Simon was the first one to tell me about God.  He was the first one that told me that Jesus loved me, even when I made mistakes.  Simon taught me that with God, all things are possible.

While I remember all of these people, and many others, who helped my parents mold me to be who I am today, I have specifically been thinking about Simon.  He was one of the first to invite my family to church.  He was one of the first to tell me about Jesus.  He was also one of the few that kept up with me for years to see if I ever let Jesus become Lord of my life.  Now that I am a father, I appreciate what he did even more.

Most of you know my boys Devin and Spencer.  They are two amazing kids.  Sue and I had a lot to do with raising them.  The neat thing is that we can’t take all the credit.  I have to give some (a lot) of credit to my family at NorthRidge Church.  I have been around many churches, but never I have I seen a church family provide more love and care than the people who work with our children on Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and many different times in between.

Our Sunday school and VIP teachers are the best I have ever seen.  I have never seen a group of people love kids the way our Sunday morning leaders do.  From the baby room all the way up to kid’s church, you can rest easy knowing that your children will be loved and taken care of.  The best part is, they are being taught.  It is not a babysitting service.  When Spencer and Devin were two, they were coming home talking about bible verses and stories.  When I was two, I was laughing at the word poopie.

Wednesday nights are the same way.  Our AWANA program is phenomenal.  Spencer is learning to memorize scripture and Devin is asking questions that can stump some seminary students.  They have a blast each Wednesday, but more importantly, they come home each week with a better understanding of God and His word than they did before they walked in.

Take it from someone who knows through experience, your child will never get better care away from home than they will at NorthRidge Chruch.  The ladies and gentleman who volunteer to work with our kids are the best I have ever worked with.  It is great to know that there are people here who love kids and are willing to partner with parents to help the teach their children to love God.  After all, it takes a village.


Stepping out in Faith,

Pastor Derrick