Why should we be equipping little saints? Christian kids should be exposed to as many areas of ministry as possible so by the time they’re adults they know exactly what they’re called to do and will be experienced at it. And I don’t mean ushering and running the sound equipment. I mean doing the works of Jesus that He said all believers can do.
By the time our children reach their teens they should be completely comfortable with the ability to hear God’s voice and be led by His Spirit so they can step into anything God calls them to do, because God has always called people in their childhood to do great things for Him. It maybe didn’t manifest until their adult years, but the call came in their pre-teenage years.
Equipping Little Saints Should be Normal
I’ve seen documentaries where doctors said they knew by the time they were ten years old they wanted to go into medicine. I heard an interview with Olympic star Carl Lewis who said at age five, he was already jumping the cracks in the sidewalk practicing to make his dream come true to become a gold medal winner in track and field.
Even my weatherman on a local TV station said he knew when he was only nine years old what he wanted to be a when he grew up! The 14th Dali Lama of Tibet, 82-year-old Tensin Gyatso, was crowned as spiritual leader at only five years of age. I’ve been told leaders of the Islamic religion often select little boys as young as two and three years old and mentor them all their days in the Islamic faith. The world seems to be miles ahead of us in this area. No wonder many of their young people are so insanely committed to their cause. It’s been bred into them since they were old enough to walk!
Equipping Little Saints on Top of the List
If it is true that the body of Christ needs to be equipped for the work of the ministry, children should be at the top of the list of potential trainees because they are so teachable and open to new ideas. They don’t argue doctrine with you, and resist leadership. They are not stuck in their ways, but are open, ready, and able to get in the trenches with us, in age-appropriate ways, to battle for the Kingdom.
If the world knows the value of mentoring such little ones, where should we be at as the body of Christ?
Could This Be Part of Why We Are Losing Our Kids?
This in many cases is connected to the epidemic of our young people leaving the church when they are old enough to make up their own minds, and never return. This is not my opinion. It has been verified by many different Christian research companies. In most cases, we, as the Church and churches, have never taken children seriously as members of the body of Christ. Oh, yes! we believe they can be saved. But generally that’s it. We never go beyond that in their spiritual walk.
We seldom take our kids seriously as active members of the body of Christ until they become teenagers at best. Unfortunately by then, in today’s culture, most of them are no longer interested in the things of God. But when we begin to actually disciple and train them as fellow soldiers in the army of God, they come alive, and realize they can do great things for God as children.
When we just keep telling them they are too young to understand such things until they grow up, they believe us, and turn their interests to other things.
So How Do We Equip Children?
- It goes without saying that we must present the Gospel to them and pray the Holy Spirit will speak to their hearts, and give them the desire to receive Jesus as Savior. This is a fundamental step in their spiritual growth. But they must also be taught biblical discipleship, like following Christ in water baptism, and taking part in the Lord’s supper.
- It is in childhood we must instill a love for the Word of God in them and encourage their parents to become proactive in the home reading the Bible to them, and training them to read it themselves. We must tell them why the Bible is special, teach them the deeper truths of God’s word. When we give them a limited diet of Bible stories only, they grow up to think that’s all there is to God and the Bible. But when we teach them doctrine, they understand and begin to love the deeper truths of God.
- They must be trained what real prayer is. We must teach them to go beyond memorized prayers over their meals, and the simplistic “God bless mommy and daddy and our dog Spot” at bedtime. We must show them how to take scriptures and phrases from them and insert them in our prayers, so they begin to learn that prayer is powerful.
- We must teach them to hear God’s voice and be led by the Spirit. Unfortunately, even many Christian adults have not been taught how to do this. But it’s simple enough that even a little boy named Samuel could do it, with a little bit of training from an older man of God. Kids are not too young to grasp the basics.
- We must lead them into the presence of God regularly, and teach them how to recognize it. This is something that is seldom experienced in the average Sunday School class, but is critical to their understanding that God is real, and not just someone they hear about in stories. Once children are taken into the presence of God, and taught to value it, what it is, and why it is important, it changes everything. Without this are guilty of giving them religion with no relationship.
These are the basics that we as church leaders should prioritize, but we must also teach parents how to do these things in the home. We have to talk about it to them, explain it, and give the parents tangible helps to understand they have a responsibility to not just keep their kids healthy, and give them a good education. They need to take the spiritual discipleship just as seriously as natural things.
Your thoughts? Please comment and share on social media.