Gamaliel was the Jewish leader who advised his peers not to be too hasty in their zeal to do away with Jesus' disciples who had preached of the resurrection.
"If it be of God," Gamaliel exclaimed, "you won't be able to stop it!" Acts 5 verse 39.
It is from the wisdom of Gamaliel that this ministry idea was conceived; from the elderly there is much wisdom to be gleaned, and young people are able to have this on tap if they simply chat to the older folk in their community.
The first of these ministries was launched at the Mt Tamborine Community Church on one of the Well-Being Australia Country Town Tours. The idea of the Gamaliel Ministries was publicised widely, including through Christian media. The concept was so simple and natural, that the only way for it to go was 'up'.
The basic idea is for one young person (over the age of fourteen) at a time to visit an elderly person or couple of the Church community.
It is imagined that they will share a cosy 'cuppa' or sit on the veranda and have a cool drink with their hosts; and chat, as people in Australia do when they have 'smoko'.
Gamaliel Ministries can be adopted by any Church at any time such is its simplicity and effective nature.
It might take a little effort to create a roster, and to 'persuade' the youngsters to make the phone-call to say they are coming; or it may take some organisation for the elderly in the congregation to send invitations to the young people; is no big deal.
Mark Tronson comments that a simple chat over afternoon tea is not rocket science.
The elderly couple will have to provide a drink and maybe cake (or even scones!), but having younger visitors will brighten up their day wonderfully.
M V Tronson says that he trusts that this idea, regardless of whatever guise or name a local congregation gives it, will continue to expand and be of much benefit to both young people and the elderly.