There is a fascinating story about Jesus recounted in Luke chapter 8. Jesus had a crowd around him when a man named Jairus approached him. Jairus fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his 12-year-old daughter—his only child—was dying. And so Jesus starts pushing his way through the throng of people in an attempt to make it to the man’s home.

People were clamoring for Jesus’ attention. They wanted their needs met. They were hungry for healing. They continually reached out to touch him. At one point Jesus stops and a woman who has been ill for years is healed. It was during that particular pause that a servant from Jairus’ household came to him and exclaimed, “Your daughter died. There’s no need to bother Jesus now.”

In that moment all hope seemed to be gone. What could be worse than the death of your only child? But Jesus responds, “Don’t be upset (Seriously?). Just trust me and everything will be alright.” Jesus and Jairus continue on their journey.

Finally they arrive at the little girl’s home. Family and friends are outside weeping. Jesus walks up to them and says, “Don’t cry. She didn’t die. She’s just sleeping.” And everyone laughs at him.

Jesus walks into the house. He takes the little girl by the hand and says, “My dear child, get up.” And in that instant she is up and breathing again!

Jesus is the One who calls children from death to life. Jesus is the One who rouses children from hopeless sleep to joyful awakening. Jesus is the One who invites you and me to join him in reaching out to children that the world has given up on, to take them by the hand, to rejoice for this one who others considered despairingly lost has found their way home.

We won’t stop until every child has a church.