Sarah Horne from Reading has been involved in children’s work for many years and shares her passion with us about its key role in our churches.
‘Did you know that around 80% of people that become Christians do so between the ages of 4 and 14? Research* has shown this age group is the most receptive to the Gospel and children are also often the most effective agents for mission. This makes good quality, Jesus-centred, fun, engaging children’s work vital in our churches.
Children’s work is not a “babysitting” service for the parents to enjoy church. The vision is to make the Gospel accessible to the children’s different levels of understanding.
Matthew 19:14 – Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
We want to show them who God is and how He feels about them; to help them develop their own relationship with God, to grow in them a passion for the Bible, to encourage them to listen to God, and to help them experience church as a fun community where they can belong. And on the plus side – who else gets to listen to God using play dough, build sandcastles to help teach about the foolish builder and frequently have their face in whipped cream?!
We also want to be raising a generation that is outward looking and unashamed of the Gospel; a generation that we’ve trained to confidently share their faith. So, how are our children impacting their world with the Gospel? Here are just a few of our children’s Kingdom stories –
“I prayed for my friend in the playground and told her about Jesus”
“I taught my friends at school some Kids Church songs”
“I stopped two friends fighting in the playground”
“I invited a lonely child to play with my group”
“I told my Muslim friend about Jesus”
“I told my class how to become a Christian and answered their questions in RE” and
“I told my friend about church”
Our kids are bringing God’s Kingdom to the world and as adults we get to encourage them in that! I hope that we can be encouraged as adults, when we watch our children be unashamed about who they are and confident to share that with the world.
There’s a well known saying, “The church is always only one generation away from extinction”. We must continue to invest in our children’s work, raise great children’s workers and pass the baton on to the next generation of world changers.’