THE VISION AND PURPOSE OF THE CHILDREN’S WORK
The children’s work is to cultivate and nurture our next generation so they eventually become pillars in God’s building.
The goal of the children’s work is:
- To cultivate and nurture the children, developing within them a proper humanity through the training of their character, to prepare them as vessels unto honour
2 Tim 2:21 If therefore anyone cleanses himself from these, he will be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, useful to the master, prepared unto every good work.
Prov 22:6 Train up a child according to the way he should go; / Even when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- To lead the children to realise at the appropriate time that they need to receive Christ as their Saviour and as their life
- To develop the children as seeds of the gospel – encouraging them to invite friends to homes and meetings
- To foster in the children a love for, and enjoyment of, the church life
- To support and encourage the parents of the children in their shepherding of them
- To encourage the children to develop companionships for their future spiritual pursuing
The children’s work encompasses children from school Year 1 to the end of Year 8.
A normal, proper and healthy children’s work begins in the home with the parents and family; it can be carried on throughout the week in the homes and neighbourhoods as well as in the Lord’s Day meetings.
PRINCIPLES RELATING TO SERVING IN THE CHILDREN’S WORK
- The direction, burden and focus for the children’s work are as set out in the book, “Raising Up the Next Generation for the Church Life”.
- Serving ones must have a heart for the children, care for them, and be concerned about their affairs. This is the minimum “capital” for a serving one.
- Never presume to know the best way to care for the children – depend on the serving team for fellowship and mutual learning.
- The most important consideration in our interactions with children is the person: the person is the way, and the person is the Lord’s work.
- This refers both to the person of the serving ones and to the person of the children.
- We have to learn to be the proper person more than learn to do the proper things.
- In all of our children’s meetings we should create an atmosphere of warmth, love, sympathy for and understanding of, the children and their situations and conditions.
- The attitude of the serving ones towards the children and the atmosphere we create in the meetings will determine whether the children have a positive experience in the meetings. 1 Cor 13:13 Now there abide faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
- All of our interactions with the children should be focussed on what is for the benefit of the children according to their situation.
- Our serving is to meet the needs of the children, both human and spiritual, in a way of nurturing and cultivating them.
- Our focus should not be to judge, discipline or correct behaviour but to engage with the children in a way that develops a proper humanity and deters misbehaviour.
- Disciplining children is the role of the parents, not serving ones.
- We need to know the children and their conditions and situations so we can care for them accordingly. (John 4 – Jesus knew the condition of the woman at the well). Each child is unique, and their situations will be different.
- Only by knowing the children and their situations can we help them to know God.
- Be careful to avoid imparting premature knowledge and encouraging life practices (eg, calling on the name of the Lord) before a child is ready. This can spoil the children for when it is time for them to enjoy the life practices. 1 Cor 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I reasoned as a child;
- Respect the dignity and privacy of the children – do not disclose either their or their families’ problems.
- In our fellowship and coordination we must cover the children and their situations, while fellowshipping how to help them.
- We should be careful about saying things which conflict with the parents’ standards and practices.
- Our serving the children should be with the consciousness that we are serving the church, and being aware of our obligation to serve all of the children regardless of their condition or behaviour. 1 Tim 2:4 Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth.
- We must take God’s view of the children – they are precious vessels, given to us to nurture and cultivate, preparing them to become vessels unto honour (2 Tim 2:20) and ultimately pillars in the house of God.
- We must guard against ever causing harm or offense to any child. Matt 18:6 And whoever stumbles one of these little ones who believe into Me, it is more profitable for him that a great millstone be hung around his neck and he be drowned in the open sea.