Children are our future. They are also the future of the church. Children are important to Jesus as we see from Matthew 18:1-6 and Matthew 19:13-14. And yet, some churches seem to devalue children’s ministry by having poorly trained and inexperienced leaders working in children’s programs, by not taking an active role in training teachers or instituting programs that children do not want to be a part of.
Information provided in Southern Cross magazine by Bible League Australia claims that Operation World says ‘every new generation needs to be evangelised afresh or the church soon becomes nominal.’ So to ensure the church grows and does not stagnate, what can we do?
At times we may need to try something new to engage people and capture their interest. For a time I attended a church where the average age was 65+. The few children who came along were not well catered for. As a result, children and families of the surrounding community mostly did not come to church and children had no desire to invite friends along to Sunday school because they were bored.
Changes like updating music and instituting programs and fun activities aimed at accommodating families and encouraging more children were dismissed with the excuse ‘but we’ve always done it that way.’ Tradition can be a lethal trap.
Because these people were comfortable in their church they assumed everyone else should be too. But year by year, those attending the church got older and then grew less. And the sad part was no one seemed interested in changing the status quo. Those who tried were ostracized. Without support it is impossible to effect change. Needless to say my husband and I felt compelled to move on.
The bible league claims more than 30% of this world’s population is children under 15. The biggest thing we can do to ensure that these children grow up to know the Lord is to ensure bibles get into the hands of children and teenagers.
Recently at a local high school gospel seminar, the SECET worker announced that anyone who wanted a free bible could come and get one to take home. Around two thirds of those in the assembly came forward to get their free bibles, which absolutely delighted those behind the project who had been praying for weeks before about having an impact on the community and reaching the young people of the school.
So we see, prayer plus getting God’s Word into the hands of young people is vital. What else can we do? Tomorrow we’ll look at some more practical ideas.
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