So what is it exactly that the church has forgotten and needs to remember? I would submit the following statement for your consideration;
“It was he who gave…some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare GOD’s people (not just adults) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” Ephesians 4:11-12.
All people, in all stages of life, are loved by GOD unconditionally. It is GOD’s will, as is clearly and emphatically stated in scripture, that children be taught the deeper things of GOD by GOD’s people, primarily but not exclusively, the parents. From this we can draw some basic truths.
- People, in all stages of life, are of equal value to GOD
- Children who have trusted in Christ are NOT only the church of the future, they are the church of the present
- Children of the church need to be recognized as people of faith
- Children need to both contribute and receive as members of GOD’s family
- Children must be invited to participate as the church in fellowship, worship, prayer, learning of the Word and service.
- Children need to be changed by the love of Christ and share the Gospel in their context.
- Christian nurture and growth are for all and are the responsibility of all.
- Parents must be equipped within the church to fulfill their role as primary spiritual leaders of their children.
- Children respond in much greater percentages to the gospel than their adult counterparts and therefore should command at least as much attention in our missionary efforts (I will touch more on this in Part II)
- Our investments in time, talent and treasure should reflect our commitment to these truths. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:34
- Our success can only be measured by the spiritual growth of the children in our sphere of influence