If we are going to be a church that truly cares for children, there are some vital things we must keep in mind.
Children are important. They are people too! Children are little souls who need to be loved, trained, molded, and matured. They will stand before the Lord at that last great day. They are not just the “future” of the church, they are part of the church now! Rest assure, we will lose them if we do not see their value and minister to the needs of their soul.
Children have families. When the church truly seeks to care for little ones, they are afforded the amazing opportunity to reach those connected to the child as well. If you are a local church where children are welcomed and valued, you will also be a local church where adults are welcomed and valued. I have noticed that if you go the extra mile to involve children and truly love them, their families might just join in too.
Children are noisy, messy, and full of energy. Expect messes. Noise is in the forecast. Crying is very likely. There will be a lot of running and playing. All of this is inevitably connected to having children in the assembly. This is just undeniable. However, I am continually shocked by church members who view these things as a nuisance. They would rather have a pristine building, empty classrooms, and quiet assemblies than children to love and serve. Don’t get angry with the child crying during worship. Get angry with the church member who is angry at the child.
Children need a great Bible class program. True, the work of teaching children begins in the home, but the church can greatly aid parents through an outstanding Bible class program. Unfortunately, many churches have a pretty low standard when it comes to their Bible class program. Churches, please don’t skimp when it comes to teaching young people. Establish clear cut objectives for each age group. Find the best material available and use it. Enlist your best teachers to serve as teachers. Offer periodic training and encouragement for your Bible class teachers. Develop a resource room for parents and teachers. Spend money sprucing up their classrooms with bright paint, clean furniture, and age appropriate resources. Create a safe, clean, and useful place to learn.
Children must have genuine relationships. The children in your local congregation need to feel a sense of belonging. Even they need to see that church is not something we do, but it is something we are. We are a family who loves and cares for one another. Spend time with your congregation’s children. Know them by name. Involve them in fun activities and events. Have them and their families into your home. Go to their school and recreational events. Publicly praise their accolades and achievements. Go above and beyond to demonstrate their importance in the local church.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus cared for the children, and so should we! Children are great blessings, and the church should strive to make them a real priority. Oh how blessed is the congregation with little children. Churches, please love them and serve them well!
Adapted from Brandon Baggett
North Lowndes church of Christ
Hope Hull, AL