Mark – The Facts.
Here are some facts. Churches who hide children in the dark basements of their buildings to teach them about God’s love are probably not growing. Churches who don’t provide a clean nursery with loving providers to care for the babies of young parents are probably not growing in a healthy manner. Youth ministries who have to raise money just to put a coat of paint on a room nobody else wants to meet in as adults is probably not growing. If all the emphasis is placed on maintaining what regular attending adults want, putting them in the best rooms of the building and catering to all their wants and needs…it is probably not growing. If the laughter and “noise” of babies and children bring frowns instead of smiles to attenders, then you are probably not very healthy as a church. Declining churches have hidden children away far too long and are now paying the price.
As church teachers of children we only have, at best, with regular attendance, 45-50 hours a year in a child’s life to help them find and follow Jesus. Their parents have approximately 2920 hours a year to influence their kids for Christ. Healthy ministries place all or most of their resources these days on reaching children and helping their parents nurture them. Why? Because parents are not bringing children as much as children are now bringing their parents to church to find Jesus!
Engaging, powerful, faithful, exciting God-honoring folks whose sole desire and focus is to help kids find and follow Jesus will cause an exponential explosion of kids bringing their friends! This is not rocket science folks and it is the Biblical, Jesus way. Jesus admonishes His disciples and all of His church and the world today with, “Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.”
If parents have 2920 hours versus our 45-50 hours, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to focus on nurturing and equipping parents who are scared and in need of help to raise their kids to follow Christ? Parents and children. Children and parents. Where is the emphasis placed at your church? Shouldn’t we make those 45-50 hours count? Is it time for evaluation? Shouldn’t our investment in our 45-50 hours be calculated and planned well? Are we just grabbing a Bible story and hoping for the best? What is a child’s soul worth?
“The disciples shooed them off. BUT Jesus was irate and let them know it: Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: UNLESS you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Then Jesus gathered the children in his arms and blessed them.
Wow. Just wow. Read it for yourselves…
Mark 10, The Message
13-16 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.
What do we learn?
–Find a group of people who are following Christ and His Word to help children and parents find and follow Christ and join God there. God is at work among this group. Follow Jesus with them and ask to help.
–Childlike faith is paramount to abundant living in God’s Kingdom. Ask, seek and find.
–Don’t shoo children away. They probably have more faith than you do.
–Mature, Christ following people can be any age. Mm.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You know my heart and my passion and I have expressed it here from a motivation of love and truth. Bless these words as food for thought and help us to grow in our faith…as a child. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen