Little Disciples #1 – Families, Where Children Become Christians

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Freddos, action songs and “the floor is made of lava” aren’t mentioned in the Bible.

Perhaps surprisingly, neither is “kids work”.

I wonder how you’d feel if we shut down “Everyday Kids” entirely? Reactions would likely range from “how inconvenient!” to “how dare you!” with every flavour in between.

Why am I asking this?

Because in the Bible, families are seen as the main place in which kids are to be brought “…up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 NIVUK). Being a little bit more specific, fathers are shown as taking a lead in the teaching of kids (Ephesians 6:4), and mothers teach alongside these fathers (Proverbs 1:8).

That is, families are where children become Christians.

At Everyday Church, we want to help 4-11s become 3D followers of Jesus, connecting UP with God, IN with God’s family and OUT to serve the world. But all of the wonderful things that we love to do in our Everyday Kids teams, the up-front teaching from the Bible, the memory verses and age-specific Life Groups, aren’t the thing.

Families are the thing. And everything that happens on a Sunday morning is supposed to support the thing by supporting the spiritual input that kids are already getting from their families each day.

And it’s worth noting how crucial this spiritual input is. Because no child starts off as a Christian. Psalm 51:5 makes this abundantly clear:

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”

What, even little Amelia? Yes. Especially little Amelia.

I’m often surprised how reluctant people are to believe that kids are sinful. Have they even met a 2 year old? Each child must personally put their trust in Jesus, declaring with their mouths that “Jesus is Lord” and believing in their hearts that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). No child “drifts” into a relationship with God. Quite the opposite. They must be introduced to Jesus and his gospel through the Bible in order to repent and believe (Mark 1:15).

And this is done through families.

Although this work is hard, full of tears and tantrums (hopefully from your daughter rather than dad), door-slamming and distractions, it is noble and it is worth it.

Let Timothy be an encouragement to you. He worked closely with the Apostle Paul in his mission to share the gospel with people who weren’t Jewish by birth. Paul says of Timothy “I have no one else like him…” (Philippians 2:20).

And yet in 2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:14-16, we discover that he became a Christian through being exposed to the life-giving gospel in the Bible by his grandma, Lois, and his mum, Eunice. Paul says to him in 2 Timothy 3:14-15:

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Timothy’s dad was a non-believer (Acts 16:1), but Eunice and Lois clearly gritted their teeth and cracked on with teaching Timothy the Scriptures. Timothy’s story is my story and the story of countless Christians worldwide; I became a Christian because my parents taught me about Jesus.

Yes, this is a hard task. It’s thankless. It’s tiring. At many points, it looks like nothing is happening. But be encouraged. Proverbs 22:6 confirms Timothy’s story:

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Keep going.

Soon, the Lord Jesus will return to judge the world and bring about a glorious New Creation. On that day, we will take our first step into eternity rejoicing with our believing children, who, in turn, will be eternally grateful to God who gave them faith, and to us who shared the gospel with them.

Families are where children become Christians, and it’s a job with eternal rewards.

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