Be the Church
Matthew 19:14 says, “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” If the children were involved in the ministry, what would it be like for them to “be” the church rather than being “done” by the church?
Children’s Ministries does not intend to hinder children. We are grateful for Children’s Ministries and all of the volunteers involved in this vital ministry. If we only view this ministry as an auxiliary arm of the church, something that happens “off the radar” of church leadership and the body, we hinder their spiritual growth and the church’s collective growth as a whole.
While peer-based ministry is essential and necessary, it is not enough to foster a child’s spiritual growth.
With each passing generation, we’re already witnessing a decline in church attendance. A Pew Research study found that 31 percent of millennials aren’t affiliated with any church at all. Research by Barna indicates that children have their spiritual moorings set by age nine and their spiritual identity by age thirteen. For kids to join the body of Christ, we must first introduce them to it.
The church must first seek to impact children if it wishes to leave a lasting impact on the next generation. In Counsels to Teachers and Parents, Ellen G. White asserts that “In the closing scenes of this earth’s history many of these children and youth will astonish people by their witness to the truth, which will be borne in simplicity, yet with spirit and power. They have been taught the fear of the Lord, and their hearts have been softened by a careful and prayerful study of the Bible. In the near future many children will be endued with the Spirit of God, and will do a work in proclaiming the truth to the world, that at that time cannot well be done by the older members of the church.”
The next generation must be included and empowered to participate in the church’s mission and ministry. Jesus says, “Let the little children come.” We want to keep them coming!
By Elton DeMoraes, President