Jesus has commanded us to reach children. Matthew 9:36-37 says, "He took a little child whom He placed among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, 'Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.'”
When you reach children, you are in good company. It was a big deal to Jesus and it must be a big deal to us. If a church wants the approval and blessing of Jesus, then it must reach children. It is Scriptural. A church that minimizes children's ministry is minimizing the blessings of Jesus. A church that maximizes children's ministry is maximizing the blessings of Jesus.
Children can enter a relationship with Jesus. Jesus says in Mark 9, "If anyone causes one of these little ones - those who BELIEVE in Me - to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea."
Yes. Children can believe in Jesus. It's not our job to draw the age of accountability line...that job is already taken by God and is different for each person. Only God knows if someone is ready to step across the line of faith. It's simply our job to share the Gospel. Does that mean we should pray with 4-year-olds to accept Christ? I'm not saying that...but I am saying a child doesn't have to be 13- years-old to come to Christ.
Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Jesus said not to stop children from coming to Him. They will come if we don't get in their way. Does a 7-year-old know about eschatology, systematic theology and all the other ologies? No...but neither did you when you came to Christ. Salvation is not based on the totality of what you know...it's based on Who you know.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:13, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." Jesus didn't say kids should have an "adult" conversion experience. He said adults should have a "child-like" conversion experience.
When the church distinguishes between child and adult salvations, it reveals an unBiblical view. There is no "jr. Holy Spirit." Everyone enters a relationship with Jesus the same way.
When the church reaches children it helps them avoid many of the hurts caused by a sinful lifestyle. Will they be perfect as they grow up? No. But neither are you. Will they face temptations as they grow older that they are not faced with now as kids? Yes. But the good news...they will have the Holy Spirit to guide them and keep them in check. And He will help them avoid many of the bad choices they would make without Him.
Will some stray? Yes. But if the Holy Spirit lives within in them, He will draw them back. Will some of them recommit their lives to Christ when they get older? Yes. But it will not be because they need to be "saved" again. It will be a matter of further surrendering to the Lordship of Christ as they are faced with His will for their life.
When we bring children to Christ ,we are setting them up to experience a lifetime of God's blessings instead of a lifetime of sin's burdens.
The church must reach children because time is critical. We know the vast majority of people who come to Christ do so before the age of 18. The older they get, the harder they will be to reach. The wet cement of their heart will quickly become hardened concrete. We must reach them now while their hearts are tender.
There is a very real race for the souls of children. False religion, atheism, pantheism, secular humanism and a host of other isms are racing to reach them. We must be the first one there.
Reaching children is one of the key ways the church can reach entire families. Notice the passage again in Matthew 19:13. It says, "One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them." When children come to Jesus, parents come to Jesus.
When you reach children, you reach parents. When you take a child by the hand, you take a parent by the heart. No matter how far a father is from God, when you do something nice for his child, you have his attention. No matter how hard a mother's heart is toward the Gospel, when you minster to her child, it softens.
If the church is really serious about reaching families, it will get serious about reaching kids.