As we enter 2018 in Westside Kids we are following our current series up front (or “Big Church” as the kids refer to it) and teaching on some foundational truths. Kids are going to learn more about who God really is, what his son Jesus did and continues to do for us and also how they can minister through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can remember back to the first time we taught about the Holy Spirit in Westside Kids and what an eye opening lesson that was not just for the kids, but myself. I learned more about the power I had through the Spirit from teaching them the class material than I had ever learned in church. Volunteering with our kids is so much more than filling a position on Sunday morning, or babysitting while parents attend church. It is an opportunity to prepare the next generation for a culture that is constantly trying to steal them from us. The enemy wants ours kids, our youth. Every time you step into the classroom, you are taking a stand against the enemy and furthering God’s Kingdom.
Back in the day, there was a story that circulated amongst pastors. It was said that D.L. Moody had come back from a tent revival where he reported that 2 1/2 people were saved. Whoever he was talking to replied, “You mean, two adults and one child?” D. L. Moody responded,
“No, two children and one adult. When you save a child, you save a life—a whole life.”
I accepted Jesus when I was 8 years old at Echo Ranch Bible Camp in Juneau, Alaska. Over the years, I’ve found out that I’m not alone. I’m just one of the many people who decided to follow Christ as a child.
This shouldn’t really surprise us. In a statement that He must have known would end up on the wall of virtually every kids ministry in the world, Jesus said,
“Let the little children come to me and do not stop them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Jesus wasn’t just commenting on what adults need to do to enter the Kingdom of Heaven or even insight into what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about; Jesus was telling us something fundamental about childhood.
There is a season in a person’s life when they are most open to learning what it means to trust God.
It’s a season sometime between 2-12 years old when kids are more moldable than they will ever be in their lifetime. It is when kids are forming their understanding of the world, of relationships, of love, of God. It is a season when kids are impressionable. We should be intentional about ensuring that they get the right impression.
What is rooted in the heart of a child is almost impossible to uproot in the life of an adult.
I don’t think this season is by accident. When God said,
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”,
I think He really did mean everything. It is during this season we need to focus our efforts on helping kids place their trust in Jesus.
What if the adult small group that has been meeting for the last four years, disbanded and took all of that knowledge and wisdom they acquired and committed to investing in a small group of kids every week for an entire year? Isn’t that the kind of small group leader or Sunday school teacher we all want for our kids?
Unsaved adults will always be among us and they will need environments designed to reach them, but a person is a child only for a short time. And in this short time, the entire course of a life can be altered.
How many adult problems would be solved if every preschooler who entered our churches left knowing they have a Heavenly Father who loves them? Or what if every elementary child left knowing they can place their trust in Jesus for every area of their lives? Or what if every high school student left knowing their place in God’s story and having made a lifetime commitment to serving Christ? What if everything we did for our kids focused on winning them to Christ?
Jesus put the child in the midst of His ministry and therefore we should put the child in the midst of the church. Not only do I believe that God blesses this, but if we were really honest this would be the most strategic use of our resources and it would bear the most fruit for the Kingdom of God in the future.
We are shaping the future of the church in our kid’s ministries of today.
What would the next generation look like if a church invested in its youngest members?
I urge you to tap a shoulder this week. Grab a family member, a friend and get involved in kid’s ministry. God is calling us to shift a culture starting with a small church in Sisters, Oregon.