Article: THERE IS NO JR.JESUS IN HEAVEN | Pr. Ribi Kenneth, UAE

 

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Children are special. They are a gift from above, a joy to every family, and the future of the society and the church. Family and the church have an enormous role in influencing and shaping our future generation.

My involvement with the children’s ministry for over two decades has allowed me to engage closely with these lovely bunch and bring many children closer to God. At the same time, it has also brought varied experiences that do not always align with the general family and corporate norms. I recall a particular time when we, as a Church, chose to group the younger children separately from the older children within the Children’s Ministry and the church sessions. The idea was to create an exclusive and apt environment of engagement for the little ones while keeping them away from distracting the worshipers and the prayer sessions. But in the long run, we realised we were building a parallel pathway for the little ones, planting them in an isolated atmosphere rather than incorporating them in the process and the practices we adults are connected in.

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The outcome of any activity and ministry should be to integrate everyone as a part of the divine and grand plan of God for humanity. For Children, this can be realised only if they are introduced to the system and are encouraged as part of the practices. This allows them to observe what the older children are engaged in, what their parents practise, and what the leaders and elders teach. This creates a powerful paradigm in a child’s mind that sets their future course.

Children are never too young to be included as part of the equation. They have a Maker and a Saviour who is Christ Jesus, just as all the adults do. We cannot isolate children from the relationship and create a junior Jesus for them independently. They need to be associated and integrated into the spiritual identity from their birth.

Therefore, Let Us Break The Walls Of Separation and unite our little ones in the practices and processes. In the account of the exodus, when the Israelites were to be redeemed from their land of bondage, it was not the adults alone who were directed to set on a worship pilgrimage. God desired the entire household together with children and the belonging to set out together for the sacrifices. Let us follow the suit and level the walls of disconnection, and let children be part of what we do spiritually as a family and as a corporate body. Let them be part of home services, our missions, our prayers, our testimonies, our worship, our outreaches and our spiritual warfares. Though they cannot be involved fully in all things, let them see, experience, and learn the path they are to trail in the future.

Subsequently, Let Us Lead By Example where our little ones see what we practise and build on it. As parents and elders we are so much likely to dictate the rules of engagement, but suffer to practise it ourselves, and this hypocrisy fails terribly. The false solution then is to create an alternative system and provide a different setting for children. But what matters is, if we believe, we will do it. When we do what we believe, it is the truth, and children pick it up well and follow. Let our life be a reflection of the gospel, and in turn light up our children’s path.

Finally, Let Us Build A Pathway for Our Children by integrating them from an early age, into our belief systems, practices, and protocols. If Jesus said ”let the little children come to me” and the disciples were offended by it, the same message speaks to us today, and may it not offend any of us mature ones. If Jesus called children to himself and asked us not to forbid them, who are we to separate and create a parallel path for them?. Our God is their God, as He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life both for them as much as He is to us.

D.L. Moody once said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God.” Children matter to God, and as we share the common path, let us take them on a journey together with us and show them by asserting the very words of Jesus “Come and see”. May it be plain, may it be done collectively, and may Children be a part of the great redemption equation. Give them their Jesus from inception.

To all our children of today and tomorrow, Happy Children’s Day, everyday!

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