'Children should be seen and not heard.'
'The most important people to serve on a Sunday are adults.'
'We have hardly any children in our congregation--what's the point?'
These are deliberately confronting statements, but consider how each of them might hold a grain of truth in your church or context.
Jesus showed that children are valued and significant members of our faith communities. The key reason we should nurture them and welcome them in our churches is because Jesus says we should (Luke 9:46-48 ).
“Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me"
Jesus valued children and acknowledged them as able to offer worship and praise to God. We must value children as Jesus valued them (Matthew 21:16)
“Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
We can’t wait for people to become adults (and therefore “useful” to the church) before we teach them about God. Children are not just people en-route to significance – they are significant now.
Churches have an opportunity to get alongside parents and equip them to pass on their faith to the next generation, at the same time giving children a place in a faith community where they belong and are nurtured.
We must see children as fellow pilgrims in growing in God – not inferior or junior or less than adults. We have much to learn from children and much to teach them.
Spiritual formation is for everyone in the faith community – not just children – growing up in maturity in Jesus Christ is a life-long project. Children who are relationally connected with others in the church will grow in faith – just as adults who are relationally connected will grow.
We'd love to hear from you!
How are you supporting parents and caregivers to nurture the spiritual growth of children in your church?
The National Children and Family Ministries Enabler, Julie McKinnon, is looking to get in contact with people from our movement who have a key role in organising children and family ministries in our churches.
Many of these key leaders are volunteers: will you help Julie connect with them? Let Julie know what is the best way and time she can get in touch with these leaders.
021 158 3668