As the Gospel of Matthew tells us, "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" Jesus put children in the middle of His ministry. We should take a lead from Jesus and put children in the middle of the Church. Did you know that almost 80% of people currently active in churches decided to follow Jesus before they were 18? Children are so open to learning what it means to trust in God. They are more mold-able than ever. They are forming their understanding of relationships, love, the world, and God. We need to become intentional about making sure they get the right impression.
This means that what is happening in the Children and Youth Departments is quite possibly the most important thing a church does. At the same time our Children and Youth Departments are under supported physically with volunteers. How many problems that adults have do you think could be solved if we began ministering to them at an early age? What if every preschooler that entered our Church left knowing that God loves them? Or every elementary child left knowing that they can place their trust in Jesus in every area of their life? Or every High School youth left knowing that they have a place in God's story and commit to serving Christ? So many of problems that adults face today could possibly be solved.
"God intends that we should win people in the days of their youth while their hearts are young and sensitive. But we are apt to let the springtime pass. Then, with great effort, create a religious fervor by our own efforts and win men to Christ. We work hard, spend thousands of dollars and at the best get disappointingly small returns. We have waited too long. That which we should do is to work with God in His seasons."
Children are the now of the Church! Let's invest our time and efforts into their lives. What will this next generation look like when we invest in them? Nathan and I have had parents come to us and tell us what a difference Journey Kids Klub has made in their children's lives.
I have a friend who on Sunday posted this on Facebook "Moms and Dads raising your kiddos in church - I see you. Keep doing what you're doing. Get them up, get them ready and take those babies to church. Let them be rowdy and distract everyone around you and fight over Legos. Because children are a blessing and the Truth spoken over them will not return void. They are a gift and their voices are worth being heard and celebrated."
This past Sunday we had 25 children and youth in Sunday School between 5 classes with 5 volunteer teachers! I cried tears of joy. Six of these kids come without parents. They want to be here. The truth is though; they only know those of us who are in the Children's Department. I challenge you to meet one of these kids that you may not know. See why they keep coming to Church. They are so proud to know The Lord's Prayer, the Apostles Creed and The Prayer for Illumination. They are eager to learn but they should also be eager to be a part of this Church community.
Stephanie Dunn, Christian Education Coordinator