Children and the Church

Dear Friends,

In a few days, Ben will start school. It will be his junior year. Wow! It will be the second to last time that he will have a first day of high school. This transition gets me to thinking about what I have left to teach him before he goes out into the world. With just under two calendar years till he graduates, there is not much time left.

By now he has heard about my faith in Jesus. By now he has seen my faith in Jesus. By now he has learned to be polite to people. By now he has been in a worship service enough times to know how to handle himself. By now Ben has grown to see the joy and wonder of being part of a church.

Are there still areas of my faith that will help Ben grow in following Jesus? Are there still words to say to strengthen his faith? Are there still ways to show Ben how faith is lived each day? Are there opportunities still were Ben can see faith at work in the community?

Yet, I realize I am not the only father to ask these questions. Other fathers and mothers may even be asking these questions. Even some grandfathers and grandmothers may be asking these questions. It may be that our congregation can be asking questions as we raise children and youth to know Jesus Christ. Though the questions our congregation asks itself may be a bit different.

How long do we have the children and youth among us? Will they return to this church or any church after they get out on their own? How have we been showing them our faith in Jesus? Have we shown them how to forgive and love each other? Have we shown them how to encourage each other? How we shown them how to surrender to the Holy Spirit? Have we shown them how to care for the widows and orphans? Have we shown them how to be present in worship? Have we shown them how to give to God and His work?

Too many times I have heard the statement, “Children are the future of the church.” I disagree with this statement. I think it needs to be stated this way: “Children help us to be the church today.” We cannot wait to show the children and youth our faith. They need to see our faith working in love even today!

I have a few more lessons for Ben when it comes to faith in Jesus. We have a few more lessons to teach our children and youth when it comes to faith in Jesus. As we teach them, may they find us as I hope to be seen by Ben.

In Christ’s Service,
John

 

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