kids are our Priority

In this message, I’m recruiting you for a cause:

To make children a high priority in the family of God. 

Parents know what I’m talking about. As soon as you become a parent, many of your priorities shift. You make sacrifices, you dedicate yourselves to their care and their upbringing. You have this deep, deep sense of responsibility. You begin reading articles and blogs and books about anything that relates to the phase they are in, just to make sure you are not messing it up. 

Now, how is it possible, that nearly every church that I know is struggling to put a kids team together? 

Why do we feel this deep sense of responsibility when it comes to our own families, but do we not bring that same sense of responsibility to our church family? 

I’m here to recruit you for a cause. And to do that, I’m going to give three reasons today why children should matter greatly in the family of God. 

1) Because children deeply mattered to Jesus

1st Century Jewish culture valued children. Sure enough. But their place was to learn and listen. Children are there to be seen, not heard. Right? 

The disciples had this mindset as well.

Mark 10:13-15 (NLT)

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Goodness, the disciples were stupid sometimes, weren’t they? 

“Oh no. Here come some of those stupid parents with their snotty little children. Aint nobody got time for that. We’ve got more important things to do. Hey! If you want to come and listen to Jesus, bring these noisy kids to granny and then come back please. They’re gonna be such a distraction.” 

I love it when Jesus gets angry though. We don’t like picturing Jesus angry. But here, He was angry.
Peter, John, Thomas. Cut it out! Are you crazy?
Let the children come to me! Get out of the way!

You know what? They can actually teach you something about faith. 

I think here, just to annoy them, He even spent more time with the children than He really was planning to. Just to let the disciples sulk in it. Right?
Like me, when you are behind me on the highway, pushing me to take over that truck at the same speed as you want to drive. I’m gonna take my time to go back into the right lane, just to make you feel how unappreciative I am of your behaviour.  

Children are not second-class members of the family. They are first-class members. They deserve our full attention and devotion. Not just of the parents. Of the whole family of believers. If the church is going to be the family of God, then these children are not just the children of their own parents, but then they are our children. It’s not just the parents that carry responsibility for them – we all do.  

2) Because their potential is bigger than yours

I know, this sounds harsh. But it’s true. 

Their potential is bigger than yours, because they still have their whole life in front of them, you only have some of your life ahead of you. 

And because in our church community, children matter deeply to us, when they are our age, they are going to have a deeper relationship with Jesus than we have now. Their lives are going to look more like the life of Jesus then ours do right now. And they are going to have had a greater impact in this world then us, when they are our age. 

They are going to learn from our mistakes! Can you imagine? So much to learn. 

Any investment that you make in the life of a child, is an investment with an incredibly high profit. 

  • Some of what we do here in the service is deeply impactful and life altering
  • Much of what we do is inspiring and encouraging
  • Sometimes, all we really do here is damage control 

On the contrary, everything our kids team gets to do is a joyful investment in the present and the future of this church and God’s Kingdom, with an insanely high turnover rate

  • A life-giving word spoken into a child’s life is a bigger investment into God’s Kingdom than what you are dropping in the offering basket today

This is why we organize a kids’ program. We know that they are going to be bored here in the service and won’t understand everything. What a waste! 

So we’re organizing a special team for them, that puts together a program especially for them, at their level, in a way that they can understand it and appreciate it. 

3) Because they need us to 

We are living in incredibly confusing times. 

We are living in the midst of a cultural storm. 

  • Populism
  • Cancel-culture
  • Social media craziness
  • Gender-confusion 
  • An oversexualized society
  • Constant distractions
  • Fake news
  • You name it, we got it!

And these are just the things we are dealing with right now. 

There’s something very daunting about bringing a child into the world nowadays. Because how are we going to teach our children to deal with everything that is considered normal today, which is not like the way of Jesus. How are they going to deal with all that, if we’re already struggling to deal with it ourselves? 

They don’t know it yet, but these children desperately need us as parents, and as a church family, to be intentional about raising them. 

They need us to teach them and show them the way of Jesus – through the wilderness of our secular society. 

They need us to not leave this to chance, but to make every effort and every sacrifice to pour our life and faith into them. 

There’s never been a generation that needed their parents and their church families to be as intentional and devoted to raising them, as this generation.

If we don’t. The world’s gonna eat them alive. 

Post-modernism has got its own little gospel ready for them. “Don’t let anybody tell you what to do. Do what makes you feel good and you’ll be happy.” 

Consumerism has got its own little gospel ready for them:
“Buy this, do that, go here, experience that, build up debt, live in the moment, carpe diem. You have got to give life meaning by getting great experiences” 

Instagram has got its own little gospel ready for them:
“If you become more like this person, dress like that one, and behave like this one, you are going to get likes and followers and you will be truly valuable.” 

As parents, we are going into this fight outnumbered and outgunned. We’d better not go in it unfocused and unprepared. 

Our children need us to bring our very best game to raising them up in the faith. 

Paul said this to his son in the faith, Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (MSG)

Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.

He then continues with some more warnings, and then he reminds Timothy of how he has been brought up by his mother. 

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (MSG)

But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

Timothy is sent by Paul to the city of Ephesus. A difficult city, with many challenges and many threats. Paul mentions in this chapter that there are two people that have prepared him for this difficult task: his mother and his mentor – that’s Paul himself. 

If Timothy’s mother would not have raised him up with a high value for Scripture, Timothy would not have been up for the task God had called him to.
Parents. Let’s not wait any longer, to teach our children to have a high value of Scripture. 

I regularly do Bible memory verses with my daughter. She soaks them up. And I believe, these verses already begin to shape her identity. And if some kid at school would ever try to tell her she is ugly or stupid, she will know it is nonsense, because already when she was four, she learned that she was fearfully and wonderfully made by God. 

But raising children up in the faith is not just the responsibility of the parents. It’s the responsibility of the whole church community! Paul’s mentorship to young Timothy mattered deeply. Young Timmy needed other people than just his mom to show him the way of Jesus and prepare him for his God-given calling. 

This is what church should be like, right? Older generations investing their lives in the younger generations, for the sake of God’s Kingdom.