By MWS Susan Arnold
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Matthew 18:10 & 14
In October of 2019 Little Sheep Day School, nested in Wynne Presbyterian Church, requested a Unified Mission Emphasis Grant from the Mission of the Church Committee of Arkansas Presbytery to assist with building a playground for Little Day School nested in our building. Little Sheep …
- is an Arkansas non-profit daycare.
- is currently one of two daycares in Wynne that accept DHS and Foster care vouchers.
- has made a commitment notto discriminate based on payment source.
- is determined to take care of and provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for all children in Wynne, including our most vulnerable populations: i.e. “the least of these”.
Because DHS pays approximately 2/3 of the cost of a week of day school, Little Sheep often seeks outside revenue sources for extraordinary expenses. Without these resources, the funding of an updated playground area was out of our reach. The new playground would help us better meet our mission of “preparing our students physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually” for Kindergarten.
In September 2019, one month prior to October’s grant submission, Wynne Presbyterian’s Session voted to become a Matthew 25 congregation: focusing on eradicating systemic poverty within our community. Little Sheep and Wynne Presbyterian believe children, and especially ‘at risk’ children, are worth the investment.
There is a story in 2 Chronicles in which God tells King David to build an altar on a man’s property and offer burnt offerings from that man’s livestock. The man offered to just give David both the property and the livestock – well, because David was king. But David refused, and said, “I will not sacrifice to God what costs me nothing.”
Little Sheep Day School is the primary, daily mission and ministry of Wynne Presbyterian Church. For a congregation to remain relevant, vital, and vibrant, it must be engaged in a daily mission / ministry that costs it something. For it to remain plugged into God’s vision it must have a daily ministry with which it’s engaged emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and financially. And if it costs us nothing, we get nothing out of it.
Here is my take on it: Little Sheep is the girlfriend we have at the moment. If we don’t want this girlfriend, then we need to break up with her. Make it a clean break. But, if this is the one we’re dating right now, then we need to give her our full attention. We cannot say, “Oh, I’ll spend time with you if I can’t find something better to do.” Or “I’ll take you out to dinner if I can’t find someone I like better.” We need to be committed, kind, and generous to the girlfriend we have while we have her.
But why a Day School? Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says, “6 these commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Presbyterians have three main areas of mission at which we shine, at home and abroad; we build churches, hospitals, and schools. Education and children are high on the Presbyterian priority list.
We need mission to remain alive; and we need mission to cost us something for us to see its value, and for it to contribute to our spiritual maturity.