Monday, October 15, 2012

Children Are Members of Christ

Jesus had a special place in His heart for children, one so counter-cultural at the time that He was forced to answer the crowds when He was giving them more attention than He gave the adults. I believe that Christ recognized children as just as much a member of His church as adults. We believe they have a purpose in the church meeting, with their own callings and gifts and they should contribute to the meeting in their own way. 

It seems Jesus thought so too. Let's remember that it was the children who were crying 'Hosanna' to the Lord. "But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" Matt. 21:15-16

Last Sunday night we had an idea to get the kids more involved in the meeting. They're all about the same age, ranging from 12-14 years old. We asked them to anonymously write down on a piece of paper what they struggle with. It could be anything from getting along with a sibling, temptation, peer pressure or even doubts about their faith. Then after putting the wadded papers into a bowl they each selected one. In two weeks, after searching for the answers to those problems in Scripture with the help of their parents, they will preach their own sermon (or simply read scriptures or accounts of people who had to deal with those same issues) in the church to us all.

We are REALLY excited this because it will accomplish the following things (although the list is endless):

  1. It will teach them to minister to each other!
  2. It will teach them how to search the Scriptures for answers both on someone else's behalf and their own. 
  3. They may end up discerning by the Spirit (using a gift they didn't know they had) who this person is that needed this solution. They may discover they love bringing a teaching or being an evangelist or whatever is in them. 
  4. It will open up deep conversation between parents and children, possibly leading to confession about what they personally go through in their lives. 
  5. It will make them more aware of how important it is to think of others and what they go through, not just focusing on themselves and their own troubles. 
For the first time in weeks I saw one of kids get their bible and notebook. We saw them actively participated in a way I don't think we've ever seen and it was almost as if they realized they were an important part of this journey. They started asking questions that belied things they deal with like kids at school who are openly gay. That lead to talking about the Christian's response to that (with love and the offer for repentance and supernatural deliverance, healing, etc NOT hateful rejection).

It was such an amazing time! Rather than making them sit there and "be quiet" and just aimlessly bringing scripture to them, it ended up being very dynamic with their participation and questions about the Scriptures the adult read that evening.

In two weeks, one of these kids will be ready to bring their teaching or exhortation. We're excited and we can't wait to see what God will speak to them!  

No matter where or how you gather among God's people, challenge your children to begin exploring the Word of God to answer their problems and discover their spiritual gifts. You'll help them have a relationship with Christ that is personal but isn't self focused and set them on a path to be used by God now and for the rest of their lives. Don't raise a pew warmer, raise a contributing part of Christ's body!

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