Today's Children are Tomorrow's Church Leaders
As I walk through our preschool, I get to see the smiles of so many children. But it’s not just during the weekdays. On Sundays especially, in our nursery, Sunday School classes, Awana, Children’s Church, and in our worship services, our church is full of children. It is absolutely wonderful. We are committed to children’s ministry here at Mililani Baptist Church. And I wanted to share what a blessing it is to actively work with children.
Anecdotally or by personal experience, we have seen that most people in the church today became a Christian when they were younger. One Barna survey indicated that 75% of the believers they surveyed became a Christian at 21 or under with the majority of those saying it occurred under age 13. It’s not to say that evangelism for adults isn’t needed (it absolutely needs to be done), but it indicates that it’s that much harder in adulthood. I don’t know if it’s pride, stubbornness, cynicism, or whatever else that has set in as we grow older, but it’s clear that as people get older, there is more resistance to change and accepting the fundamental truth of the Gospel. We have to understand that childhood is a period where people seem to be the most open to learn about and trust Jesus. But it’s more than just about the openness: it’s about life, direction, purpose, and identity. In the book, Give Me Jesus, a story was shared about D. L. Moody responding to someone after a tent revival saying that 2 1⁄2 people were saved. The other person asked if he meant two adults and one child? Moody responded, “No, two children and one adult. When you save a child, you save a life – a whole life.”
Children are inquisitive. This idea freaks out some adults. Inevitably as you talk to a child, you will be asked a simple but difficult to answer question, “why?” And as you answer that question, inevitably your response will be given the very same question yet again, “why?” The process continues until frankly you just don’t know why. But the reality is that the child will just as quickly smile and not really care that you don’t know. They’re just being curious. And as they are forming an understanding of this world, don’t you want to make sure that understanding revolves around our Creator? In the absence of truth, it is too easy to fill the gap with deception and lies pushed upon us by the world. We need to share the truth of the Gospel with children. But in telling a child about it, it forces us to come to a better understanding of our beliefs as we explain it and receive questions about it. This is a good thing. It is a process that leads to growth as we experience and share Jesus in our lives. Teaching others even children (and in some ways even more so with children), helps us to better understand what we know.
Children are impressionable. Because of this, we want to make sure that they receive the right impression. It is one thing to just say things to teach children, but children are bright and soak up information from all around them. This fact in a very real way keeps us accountable. Accountability is also a good thing. What we say must be followed-up with action that reinforces what we say we believe. We are role models to others and in that role we need to represent Christ.
The excitement and joy of a child is contagious. I’m not sure where you are at in your walk with Christ, but I will be the first to admit that there are periods in life when that walk seems to slow down or hit a rut. The love of Christ and the fellowship of others helps to get us back on track. Their joy and energy helps reignite our passion for Christ. There is something about the precious joy of a child that spreads to others. This is quickly seen anytime we have a children’s performance at church. Whether it be for the Christmas Cantata or a song special throughout the year, I can see hearts melting as they see kids praising Jesus.
Children are the future of our church. Children’s ministry plants seeds of truth that become rooted in their hearts as they grow older. One of my greatest joys as a pastor has been being able to see children grow up in the church and see how God is shaping them as they grow older. It helps us to grow as we use our talents and spiritual gifts to help others. Scripture tells us to disciple others. Discipling includes children. We want to ensure that they are taught proper doctrine and beliefs. As they get older, this ensures that the church continues to represent Christ as a light to others with the undistorted truths of Scripture. We are training our future leaders.
Children are a blessing. I love seeing the children in our church. And as they are growing, I encourage you to take an active part in that process. If you're looking for a way to help out more with our children's ministries even in short-term capacities, I'd be more than happy to meet and talk to you about it. Our children truly are a blessing.