We’ve been studying the Gospel of Luke on Sunday mornings for nearly three years. What a journey! One of the more practical passages for ministry is found in Luke 18:15-17. Luke describes Jesus’ interaction with little children. The text reads,
“Now they 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. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
I continue to be gripped by the lessons learned for church and home. As a pastor and a parent, allow me to re-cap those lessons that shape our service to children.
1. Parents are to be the primary disciple-makers of their children.
“They were bringing infants to him…”
The text presents a positive example for parents to follow. They are bringing their children to Jesus. Here we learn that the evangelism and discipleship of children are first responsibilities of parents. No one has more of a voice in a child’s life than a parent. Parents have a unique God-given opportunity to their children on the path to spiritual success. Yet, there are no perfect parents. We are all in process. Therefore, we as a church want to partner with parents to help them disciple their children.
2. Churches are to make it easy for families to connect in ministry.
“And the [disciples] rebuked them.”
Contrary to the parents, the disciples present a negative example of what not to do – stand in the way between children and Christ. What a sad commentary. Chalk it up to “good intentions, bad judgment,” the disciples must have assumed that Jesus is either too busy for children, or children are below his ministry purview. But as Jesus makes it clear, they were way off. We as a church, therefore, must be “pro-parent,” that is, for the family. Everything we do and don’t do must be helping homes find their way to Jesus.
3. Children are to be encouraged in taking steps of faith towards Jesus.
“Let the children come to me…”
Christ calls children to enter his Kingdom. We want to help them heed that call. His words assume many children are capable of responding to the gospel in genuine repentance and true saving faith. Therefore, our ministry to them is a great stewardship of introducing big truths to little hearts. Every child is in process from a young age – in mind, body and heart. We want to encourage what God is doing in our children.
4. People are to receive Christ with the heart-posture of small children.
“…like a child…”
We may teach our children, but our children also teach us. If you spend much time around children, you’ll learn of their dependency on their parents. Such is the attitude we must have in order to enter the Kingdom of God — utter dependency on the person and work of Jesus. To be a disciple of Christ is to live a life of learned dependence upon him. Watch your kids, learn from them. Just remember, they are watching you. Stay dependent.
Our children’s ministry stands on the front line of gospel advancement in our church and our community. For many families, it is the front door of our church. We need your prayers, support, and your service. We are always looking for new volunteers to serve Christ as they serve our children.
Haley King is a new addition to our staff as our children’s and family’s coordinator. She’s already immersed in ministry, making relationships and doing a fantastic job. She stands ready to recruit, train, motivate and organize leaders to serve our children. If you’d like to learn more about ways to get involved, please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.