Pastor Bob Norton
Children matter to God and one could build a good case for why children should be the church’s #1 priority. Jesus himself made a good case for children. Look to Matthew 18:1-6. At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Jesus always was a straight shooter. He tells it like it is. Then, why don’t we listen to him?
A kingdom of children. Even before Walt Disney. And the little children came. And they still do if we are responsive to their needs and lead them to Jesus who meets the deepest needs of all of our lives.
Children matter to God and the Scriptures are clear about their significance. Children are a gift from God (Dt. 7:13; Ps. 127:3). Adults receive special blessings through their children (Num. 5:28; Dt. 28:4, 11; Lam. 4:2). Children are desirable (Gen. 9:7; Dt. 6:3; Lk. 1:24-25). Children need to be taught how to think and act in relation to God and His ways (Ex. 12:26, 37; Dt. 4:9-10; 6:1-7; 31:12-13; Ps. 78:4-6; Prov. 22:6). To have a fruitful relationship with God, children must be taught to obey Him (Prov. 8:32; 19:26; Jer. 2:30; 3:22; Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20). Children are so valuable to God that He commands us to protect them (1 Sam. 20:42; Ezra 8:21). God wants to have a genuine relationship with His children (Ps. 8:2; 34:11; 103:13; Mal. 2:15; Mt. 21:15; Mk. 10:13-16). God loves children enough to ensure that they receive discipline (Prov. 3:11-12; 13:24; 19:18; 23:13; 29:15-17; Eph. 6:4). God enjoys the nature and personality of children (Mt. 18:3; 19:14; Phil. 2:15).
The role of the church is to spiritually mentor parents; the role of parents is to spiritually mentor their children; and the legacy of faith continues from generation to generation. Our hope for the future lies in our ability to help young people experience spiritual transformation. Most people who trust Jesus as their Savior do so before the age of 15. The Risen Lord invites us into the greatest harvest field of all time – children. We need to boldly and faithfully seize the opportunity to impact our community – starting with the children.
In this issue of our COR newsletter and in our Sunday morning messages in May you will learn about how to bless the children the way Jesus did in His earthly ministry (Lk. 18:15-17) and how He wants to bless them today through you! Sunday School. Pioneer Clubs. Sponsoring a Compassion child “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name”. Youth and Family. Youth mission trip to Mexico. Vacation Bible School. Future educational opportunities for children and youth at COR. There is an urgency about the Church’s need to strategically focus our energies on children and youth. Jesus’ message for today flies straight to the heart of every parent, grandparent, teacher and pastor. Invest early. Get them while they’re young, or they may miss knowing Jesus altogether – and thus, so may our world.
This message is ancient with the wisdom of the ages. It’s also as fresh and urgent as today’s newspaper. Let’s join together in transforming children into spiritual champions!