A special field trip
Many years ago, a group of Youth Leaders sponsored a unique field trip: No it wasn’t a trip to an amusement park; It was not a trip to a sporting or entertainment event. Neither was it a trip to the museum. These Youth Leaders sponsored a field trip to see Jesus.
The trip was a proactive approach to introducing these children to Jesus Christ. As parents, we should not wait until our children are in trouble to bring them to church. Don’t even wait until they are sick to bring them to church. Bring them now. Start when they are young and bring them often.
In fact, let me pause to give a shout out to parents, god- parents, family members, neighbors and friends who bring children to church. God bless you. And while I’m at it, allow me to also give a shout out to Youth Leaders like Youth Pastors, Sunday School Teachers, Sunshine Band workers, Purity Class Instructors, Youth Bible Study teachers, Choir Directors, Junior Usher Board Leaders and various other volunteers who minister to children. God bless you.
Where is our urgency?
But it is amazing the number of children that are not being brought to church these days. They are being brought to a number of different places: The mall, The movies, sporting events, parties and various extra curricula activities. But we need to make a point to see that our Young people are brought to church; brought to see Jesus.
It seems that to a great extent, many parents (even Christian parents) have lost the urgency to bring their children to church. And many churches have lost the vision to reach children. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way that he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Psalms 127:3 says “Lo children are an heritage of the Lord and the fruit o the womb is his reward.” We should re-kindle the flame of bringing our young people to see Jesus.
For the church, children are easiest population to reach. Their opinions have not yet formed. They are very impressionable. And they usually have adults following behind them. In terms of church growth, children are referred to as low hanging fruit. But in order to reach them, one must bring them.
All they wanted was a touch from the Lord
The text says that they brought young children to him (Jesus) that he should touch them. It’s a wonderful thing to desire the Lord’s touch. They wanted the Master’s touch. No doubt that they heard about the power of the Lord’s touch. Maybe they heard about the woman with the issue of blood who simply touched the hem of his garment and was totally healed. (Matthew 9:20). Or perhaps they heard about his sermon on the plain where the whole multitude sought to touch him (Luke 6:19). It is also possible that they heard of the miracles at Gennasaret which says that “as many as were touched by him were made whole” (Mark 6:53). We should all desire the Lord’s touch. Touch me again Lord
A Disciple mentality towards Youth
Notice that the disciples incorrectly rebuked the children and Jesus was much displeased. Even in today’s church, there are certain folks with this “disciple” mentality who hinder the spiritual growth of youth.
The following is a listing of five reasons the Disciples incorrectly rebuked them that brought children: 1) The disciples did not have the vision of Jesus. 2) The disciples did not have a heart for youth. 3) The disciples did not see children as a priority. 4) The disciples had their own agenda. 5) The disciples were overly religious and traditional. Now we know that the disciples would eventually get it together and go on to change the world. But on this occasion, they missed the mark.
Jesus had a Youth Ministry
Perhaps the disciples forgot about Christ’s Youth Ministry. Remember how he used the lunch of a little boy who had 2 fish and five loaves of bread to feed more than five thousand. And let’s not forget how he healed the daughter of Jairus. And who can forget his advice to the rich young ruler. And in this passage, we see his response toward children as he took them in his arms and blessed them.
I am reminded of my own experience as a child growing up in Section 8 apartment complex, living in a poverty stricken neighborhood on the South side in Fort Worth, Texas. At the time, my mother did not attend church very often. And it seemed that nobody expected the young men in my neighborhood to amount to much. But the Love Sanctuary Church of God in Christ under the leadership of the late Pastor E.L. Battles, evangelized my community when I was about ten years old.
They knocked on my door and promised my mother that they would pick us up, take us to Sunday School, feed us breakfast, and bring us home every Sunday. I grew up in that church. To this day I am eternally grateful for their efforts. I close with the following poem:
Let them play and have their fun
They will laugh jump and run
The preached Word, they want some
So If you bring them-they will come.
If you teach them they will learn
God’s Word and the Bible’s story
And how we must give Him the glory
Bring them by bus, van or car.
those who are near and those who are far
when the Sun is shinning, or raining and muddy
to Sunday School and Bible Study
By all means we must teach them
But our first goal is to reach them
So as our young people make their search
Make the sacrifice and bring them to church
Bring Them to Jesus