Plant a Seed
If you are a gardener, you know that it takes time and effort for your plants to mature into a fruit- and vegetable-producing garden. Preparing the soil to accept the seed and protecting the new plants as they come up out of the soil from wind, rain, insects and other elements that threaten to destroy the small seedlings is necessary if we want our plants to reach maturity. Just the right amount of water and sunlight are needed to produce the best possible plant. That tiny seed has God-given power so that it can and will grow up into a plant that produces food for us to eat as well as seeds which can be planted for the next crop.
Likewise, our children need the best possible environment to grow and mature their faith. Our churches should be places where children are welcome to grow their faith and be able to share it. Have you noticed how enthusiastic small children can be about their love of Jesus? Their ability to memorize Bible verses, the joyful music they make while singing, the simple faith they have when talking about Jesus’ love for them and the uninhibited way they pray to their heavenly Father should be inspiration to us and our sometimes less-than-enthusiastic ability to share our faith in the same way.
Are we providing an environment in our churches that encourages the growth of our young children into fully mature adult Christians, bearing fruit that will not only be a blessing to the church family but plant seeds in the hearts of others as well? Do we give opportunities for them to pray, sing and preach? If we discourage them from sharing their simple faith when they are little, they will not want to share when they get older and more sensitive to the pressure of peers and the fear of making mistakes.
Are we afraid that the mistakes they make might detract from our worship experience? Our churches should be the safest place on earth for our children to learn and grow and be able to make mistakes while learning! I encourage you to make your church a place where children can grow the talents that the Lord has given them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14. My prayer is that our churches can be filled with the sound of young voices praising our heavenly Father in the way only they can do.
By Norma Shepherd, Children’s Ministries Coordinator Assistant