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27 September 2017

What’s the point of children’s groups?

Jane Watkins Jane Watkins Head of Children’s Ministry
GSMA - SN reading Bible

What would you say if I asked you why we run children’s groups in the church?

A few months ago I asked my children’s team leaders from crèche, GSMA (Great Sunday Morning Adventure), and WOW, ‘Why do we do what we do?’ These were some of their answers,

‘To show Jesus to parents and their babies.’ (Baby crèche)

‘To tell the children about Jesus.’ (Toddler crèche)

‘To build solid foundations of Biblical truth into young children’s lives’ (Little GSMA)

‘To demonstrate practically that we the church stand with parents in the task of passing on the faith.’ (GSMA)

‘To give the children a place that they can bring their friends so they can hear about Jesus.’ (WOW)

I wonder if that’s how you would have answered the question why do we run children’s groups.

WOW camp 2017 - George Hale

The Bible doesn’t say anything about Sunday schools or youth clubs. But it does say a huge amount about passing on the truth about our wonderful God to the next generation.

Psalm 78:4 says that we’re to talk to our children about the things that happened long ago – we mustn’t hide them from them.

We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

And why are we to do this?

The Psalm goes on to tell us it’s so that the children ‘would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds, but would keep his commands’ (Psalm 74:7). That’s what we long to see.

Little GSMA - Hannah Zealey

And actually that’s what we do see: children who have a living faith in Jesus.

The Bible says that parents have the main responsibility to pass on these truths. But we are a church family, so as the children’s team we are here to support the things that parents are already saying and doing at home.

As a parent, I am so grateful for the other adults in my children’s lives who have taken an interest in them, are godly role models to them, and say the same things as their dad and mum, but are usually much cooler than us! It’s made a real impact on our boys' lives.

Poppin Church March 2017

One of the privileges of my role is seeing children grow up and go on living for Jesus. Our prayer is that in 10, 20, 40 years time they will still be loving God, following Jesus, and sharing hope!

Sadly, that’s not always the case. There is a battle going on for hearts and minds, so we must be praying. And not just parents – everyone in the church family could be praying for a family: that the children will come to know Jesus, go on living for him, and have an impact for him in the world, wherever they are.

This is a mission field right on our doorstep — well it’s even closer than that; it’s in our homes – and I think we often miss it.

This term we have an exciting opportunity to learn and grow together as a church family. On Sunday mornings, we are all, children and adults alike, looking at the big picture of the Bible storyline from creation through to new creation.

All-age service Aug 2017

So parents and church family, take this opportunity, not just to quiz the children on what they’ve learned, but to talk to the children about what you have learned – what the Lord has done, his power and the wonderful things he has done. That’s why we do what we do: passing this on to the next generation!

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