Let the Children Come

“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:16

The Word of God is very clear on the importance of training, nurturing & developing children.  As Ministry Leaders, we must place the same value on ministering to God’s children as Jesus demonstrated during His earthly ministry.  (See Mark 10:13-16)

We see in the passage above that as Jesus was ministering to a crowd of people, they kept bringing children to Him so that He could touch them.  They recognized that Jesus could help their children.  He was known for healing and delivering people from satan’s bondage.  They wanted their children to experience the goodness of God too.  But the disciples, followers of Jesus, rebuked them for bringing their children to Jesus.  The word ‘rebuked’ indicates the disciples were very harsh in turning the children away.  This was unacceptable to Jesus.  He was not only displeased but much displeased with the disciples’ attitudes.  The Amplified Bibles states, “He was indignant and pained.”  The disciples’ attitudes and actions towards ministering to children hurt Jesus’ heart because He came to the earth for children not just adults.

As Christians and Ministry Leaders, we must suffer or allow children to come to Jesus.  Here are a few things we can learn from this passage:

  1. Impart the heart of God to those who follow you.  Let’s face it, the disciples’ attitudes here were horrible and quite shocking, but all too familiar. Many Christians today would agree that God loves children but their attitude towards ministering to children would pain the heart of God.  Children’s perception of God is partially developed by how they are treated by people who claim to know and love Him.  So, let’s combat attitudes like, ‘I could never serve in Children’s Ministry’ or ‘I love kids, I just don’t like being around them’ by instructing people from the Word and by our own example.  Jesus took the time to correct His disciples, with love, about their poor attitude.  He then demonstrated how to minister to and treat children.   As leaders, it’s important that we do the same.  Whether we have consistent contact with children or not we must all value them as God does and communicate His heart for children to those around us.
  2. Allow the children to come to Jesus not just Children’s Church.  Praise God that so many churches provide a place for children during worship services. But beware of just baby-sitting or wasting time.  Remember, as pastors and Children’s Ministry leaders, we must give an account to God for what takes place during the time we have with His children.  Kids need to know that Jesus is real and not some fairy tale or historical figure.  He loves them and wants them to know Him personally.  So the bright rooms, state-of –the art technology, zany activities and prizes all have their place, but they cannot come before Jesus.  Don’t just give children a cool place to hang out until ‘big church’ is over.  Teach them how to hear from God, how to fellowship with God and how to follow God – now.
  3. Forbid them not.  In verse 14, the Amplified Bible reads, “Allow the children to come to Me--do not forbid or prevent or hinder them.”  We already addressed how we can forbid or prevent them from coming to Jesus.  Let’s look at one way we can hinder, or slow down a child’s progress in fellowshipping with Jesus.
    Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” When we allow children to engage in things that the Bible says are evil, like listening to and watching things that are inappropriate, this confuses children.  This double-standard then hinders their progress in coming closer to Jesus.  We must not fall into the trap of thinking that just because something doesn’t have profanity or pornography in it that it is ok.  If it’s not lifting up the Name of Jesus, we should not call it ‘good.’  There are many teenage singers, boy bands, movies and TV shows that seem harmless but they do not bring a child closer to Jesus.  If left unchecked, it will influence their thinking and their attitude and rob them of the intimacy they should have with God.
  4. Recognize that the kingdom of God belongs to children too.  The kingdom of God can be summed up as God’s way of doing things in our lives and in the earth.  Jesus specifically said God’s kingdom belongs to children.  Therefore, children must be taught the Word in a manner that is relevant and practical for them.  Learn what challenges children are facing today and then teach them how to use God’s ways to win others to Jesus and see His victory in their own lives.  Remember, the same Word and Holy Spirit that helps and teaches adults also helps and teaches children.
  5. Invest time in the children around you.  Lastly, leading children to Jesus cannot be done from afar.  It requires an investment of your time, not just money.  As busy as Jesus was during His earthly ministry, we see in verse 16 that He still took the time to bless each of the children that came to Him.  As pastors and Children’s Ministry leaders, you must invest your time in the children that come through your doors.

Children should know who their Pastor is.  Stop by the Children’s Ministry area periodically and actually talk to the children.  Let them know that you love them and more importantly that God loves them.

If you have been given the honor of overseeing the Children’s Ministry at your church, spend time in the classrooms and worship with the children.   Encourage the volunteers who serve with you by supporting them and being a living example of how to let the children come to Jesus.

This article is written by Minister Kila Jones

Children’s Minister for Word of Faith