Heartprints

“He’s Just a Kid” – NOT!!

“He’s a kid…what can he possibly do that’s of any value? He’s just a kid.”

Have you ever heard people say that? Do we secretly think that ourselves about our own kids or the children we work with?

“He’s a kid…what can he possibly do that’s of any value? He’s just a kid.”

Have you ever heard people say that? Do we secretly think that ourselves about our own kids or the children we work with?

Who are we to say that kids can’t do anything worthwhile? Scriptures are filled with examples of young children who followed God and carried out His plans for their lives. Here are just a few:

  • As a shepherd boy, David spent time with God and developed a tender and growing faith in God and later became king of Israel (2 Sam 2:7 NET).
  • Samuel is another child called by God for His purposes. Samuel's response: “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:9-10 NET). As he obeyed God, “the Lord was with him” and “Samuel revealed the word of the Lord to all Israel” (1 Sam 3:19; 4:1 NET).
  • King Josiah, at the age of 8, assumed the throne in Jerusalem. Unlike his father and other disobedient kings, he sought after God, removed idols and repaired the temple of the Lord (2 Chron 34:3, 8 NET).
  • While still a young girl, Esther was brought to the king’s palace. She eventually became queen and helped save the Jewish people from being destroyed (Esther 2:8-9:32).
  • And who can forget the boy who willingly offered his lunch to Jesus who in turn fed the 5,000+ crowds on the mountainside (John 6:8-13 NET)?

We don’t need to wait for children to grow up, or move into the youth group, or become adults to begin to serve in their area of giftedness. No matter how young they are when they come to faith in Christ, children can also begin to develop the spiritual gifts given to them at salvation (Rom 12:4-6 NET). And, even in their young lives, they can be used by God.

I’ve seen this happen with many children during my years in ministry. Most recently, the children (ages 3-12) attending our Kids Missions Conference at Dallas Theological Seminary participated in their own mission project for the week. They were “Agents for Change” and their “Top Secret Mission” was to raise money to buy Bibles for kids in other countries. They decorated their ‘collection’ boxes and gathered spare change from friends and family and even their own piggy banks. We placed some collection boxes at the tables in the café with a sign “Kids Can CHANGE the World!” (get it?) and people gave their pocket change. At the end of the week the kids dumped all their pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters and dollars on the floor and counted it all with great enthusiasm. What a blessing to see their excitement of the final count and their joy in knowing that children who don’t have Bibles of their own would now have Bibles because of their efforts. Priceless!

It is our awesome privilege and responsibility, as adults, to help children discover and develop their unique gifts as they grow in their faith. In fact, the church can be a great help to our younger brothers and sisters in Christ by providing opportunities for children to serve in different areas of the church.

What are some ways we can help our children exercise their faith and develop their spiritual gifts? A few ideas would be:

  • greeting visitors at the door
  • handing out church bulletins
  • serving in the preschool area with the younger kids
  • leading worship during their large group time
  • working in Vacation Bible School
  • gathering shoes for orphans
  • collecting food for the food pantry
  • making care packages for missionaries
  • participating in local service projects
  • learning how to share Christ with their friends
  • providing opportunities for families to serve together

A church that supports these types of activities prepares children early for a lifetime journey of serving the Lord. Patrick Kavanaugh, in his book Raising Children to Adore God, has said, “If you want your children to be worshipers for life, then the earlier they become directly involved with their church the better” (p. 141). When children become actively involved serving in the church, then it is no longer their parent’s church—it becomes their church.

As children grow and develop in their faith, it is important for them to see the world beyond the doors of the church. Children, at a young age, can catch the vision of a world in need of Christ. As they help to serve and share the gospel with those in need, their world expands. And as children develop their gifts and follow God’s leading in their young lives, their faith grows stronger.

First Corinthians 2:9 tells us, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." This is just as true for young children as it is for adults. It is our privilege to help our kids dream and carry out big dreams for God. After all, they are NOT “just” kids!

 

QUESTION: In what practical ways are you helping your kids learn to love and serve the Lord? Please share your stories with us!

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