Inclusivity and children
Children are a massive demographic in society yet there are some weird social norms around them. It seems that it is socially acceptable to roll your eyes and sigh when a child is brought into a restaurant but would it be socially acceptable to do that if a woman entered or an Asian person? Of course not!
Then why is it okay to say “I don’t want to be around any children in my life” and not “I don’t want to be around any women/Asian people?” Yes, children haven’t learnt all the social niceties that (many) adults have but that’s no reason to exclude or deride them.
Jesus’ interactions with children
Jesus surrounded himself with people who had low social standing, those who others looked down upon and despised or those that simply went by unnoticed. Yet in spite of this his disciples—who for the most part were also those with low social standing—didn’t think Jesus’ care extended to children.
In Luke chapter 18, verses 15–16, we see this interaction, “Now they [the members of the crowd] were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
The disciples thought it was a waste of Jesus’ time to interact with children but Jesus made it clear that they were important to him. Jesus models how we should act—not loving those who fit perfectly into our lives with no inconvenience but loving everyone because that is the type of love he loves us with.
Children’s ministry should matter to YOU because…. it disciples fellow members of the church family
Discipleship is not just for ‘adult’ Christians but for all those in the church family—from babies to the elderly. Part of being in a loving, Bible-believing, Christ-centred church is realising the value of all members being built up in Christian maturity.
Children are like sponges when they are young absorbing everything around them and learning things at a remarkable speed. Even before being able to communicate with others they are able to comprehend a remarkable amount of information.
Children’s ministry not only provides the building blocks for future discipleship but it also impacts the children in the present with useful, encouraging Bible knowledge.
It is wonderful to seeing children—as early as two communicating that Jesus loves them, that he died for them, and that we should obey him. That when a friend of the family dies it is sad but not hopeless because they are in heaven, that Jesus is with them when they’re scared, and that loving their brother or sister is the right thing to do because Jesus wants them too.
Children’s ministry should matter to YOU because…. it models godly living
The second reason children’s ministry is important is because it models godly living, and it does so in a way that meets children where they are. Studying God’s word and applying it to our lives is an essential part of the Christian life and so it is an excellent idea to start that as early as possible.
It is never too early to start modelling good habits. Having a children’s ministry available to present the gospel in a way that is easy to understand for children is a way to lovingly care for the children in your church.
Children’s ministry should matter to YOU because…. it is an investment.
Children’s ministry may seem unimportant because it seems that all the children (especially the really little ones) do is run around making noise, climbing on things, picking their nose, and generally not pay attention to the important Bible lesson that has been prepared for them. Yet I have lost count of how many stories I’ve heard about how big of an impact children’s ministry has had on people.
One in particular is about a person coming to a saving faith late in life after remembering a lesson from Sunday school, which led them to give their life to Jesus, start reading the Bible, and get in touch with a local pastor.
Children’s ministry is an investment that may not seem to bring results at the time but is powerfully used by God. As Jesus said in Matthew chapter 13, verses 31–32, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin, and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrapbooking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.
Jessica McPherson’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jessica-mcpherson.html
Jessica McPherson lives with her best friend and husband, Eoin and their family of rescue animals in Christchurch. She loves reading, writing, photography and scrap-booking but most of all sharing God’s love and truth with a hurting world. Jessica is particularly passionate about encouraging children and building them up in gospel truth.