God Moving At Maranatha
Kids can be cute and entertaining. They can also be challenging and draining. But whatever else they are, the Bible tells us they are a blessing from the Lord. God loves them and has a plan for them. Jesus says that whoever receives a child in his name, receives Him (Matthew 18:5). We want to be a church that receives children in Jesus’s name.
When I pray for the children of our church, I pray, first, that God will work powerfully in them. I pray this because significant, life-changing things can happen in even the youngest of children. Some adults I know gave their lives to Christ at three or four or five years of age and never looked back. Our prospective Pastor of Discipleship was five years old(!) when God called him to be a pastor.
I also pray that God will work powerfully through the children of the church. Children have a unique ability to impact our lives as adults. God has used children’s openness to Him to challenge my hardness of heart. He has used their sincere faith to challenge my unbelief. A Maranatha child gave me a card which is displayed on my desk at home. It contains a note of encouragement to me as a pastor. I think it actually may be prophetic in nature. It gives me joy from day to day.
While leading little ones to Jesus is chiefly the responsibility of parents, all of us in the church can play a part through our welcoming attitudes and volunteer efforts. I am deeply grateful for the many volunteers who invest their energies in the Kids Up children’s program on Sunday mornings.
I asked Shelley, our Director of Children’s ministries, to tell me some good things she experienced in Kids Up recently. She said, one child warmed her heart this past Sunday when she said to her “I love you Miss Shelley” She described another child, a first-time visitor to the church, who told her foster parents, who had come to get her after the worship service, that she didn’t want to leave!
There are frequent teaching moments sparked by the kids. For example, one child recently plunged the class into a thoughtful discussion when he asked why Jesus received exactly 39 lashes leading up to his passion.
Our children are a gift to us, and the Spirit is working in and through them. Let’s join God in welcoming and nurturing them! –Pastor Tom