When Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples that command was given to those who believe in Him. It is a command enduring for all time until people from every tribe, tongue and nation come to know Him.
Jesus calls us all to be witnesses for him (not just the super elite evangelists). Indeed the work of the evangelist according to Ephesians 4 is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. The ministry is the ministry of Jesus – one of reconciling people back to God.
For many years, many of us have been speaking on how children are full members of the body of Christ. As such they do not receive a junior Holy Spirit. They also have not received a moratorium on the Great Commission. They are called to share the Gospel as much as any other believer.
As Jesus stated – we are the salt and the light of the world. He does not say you should work towards being salt and light. He says we are salt and light. The only question is whether we lose our saltiness (through compromise with the world) or hide our light (through shame or embarrassment).
So how can we support our children in their role as witness of Jesus in their school.
Firstly, we should be praying for our children.
We may be sowing into their lives, their parents may be instructing them in the ways of the Lord but it is God who stirs their hearts for Him. Without Him we can do nothing, we need God to activate a desire in our children for God and for the work of the kingdom of God.
Secondly, we should help our children to be passionate for Jesus and to encounter him.
Every time we meet with the children we have an opportunity for them to be transformed by His presence. Jesus says when two or three are gathered in His name He is there in our midst. There is something powerful when we come together and we should be expectant that it will stir spiritual life inside of them as we meet together. Before they can witness to Jesus they need to be alive to Him. Our outreach for Jesus should always be as an overflow of our relationship with Him. Every Sunday we have the opportunity to create time for the children to worship and hear from God.
Thirdly, we should be encouraging them in their prayer times at home.
Their relationship with God is personal and time alone with Him is important. We start by encouraging children to spend as many minutes praying to Jesus as they are minutes old. Our resource, The Spy Kit, has helped thousands of children kick start their prayer lives. We use a model of prayer based on the Lord’s prayer: the STOP prayer. Sorry, Thank you, Others, Please. The children pray STOP and then listen to God speak to them by His Holy Spirit and through reading the Bible.
When encouraged we have seen children spending much time with God and the more they spend time with Him the more it starts to overflow into their lives.
One day I was showing a visitor around our ministry base. We stopped to chat to a young leader called Laetitia. She was not quite a teenager, but was leading her friends to Jesus and doing great work for the kingdom. The visitor asked a few questions about her leadership and what she was doing in her school. Then she asked the key question: “How long do you pray for each day?” Laetitia paused and replied honestly: “I don’t know. I just wake up, pray, and then go to school.”
With a few more questions we worked out that she was spending close to a couple of hours praying to God each morning. She was nearly late for school some days because she was so busy praying. This is the new generation that God is raising up.
(Excerpt from the Josiah Generation, chapter 5.)
Laetitia is not the exception. When the Lord stirs our children’s hearts and we support them many children find themselves spending more and more time with the Lord. Once they taste and see that He is good they simply desire more of Him in their lives.
Notice, so far, we have not even spoken about helping children share their faith. All we have been doing is ensuring that their foundation for evangelism is build on a living relationship with Christ, not on a form of dead religion passed on to them by their parents and leaders. Once children are spiritual alive to God, they start to live for Him and we have a privilege to help them share with others.
Using simple tools and role plays the children can practice sharing their faith with others. We’ll dedicate another blog to some of these specific tools we can give to our children as they start to step out and share their faith, but if you are stirred by this blog let me encourage you to devote yourself in prayer for your children that they will be spiritual alive and full of the Holy Spirit in this time.
This is normal Christianity and we must define it as such. It may not be the norm in your experience, but it is the norm of those who have gone before us. Just because we don’t experience it as the norm does not mean we should settles for less than God has given to us.
I prayed recently for one lady who was asking for painkillers because she had a headache. Instead of painkillers I offered prayer. After a few of us had prayed with her she looked up in shock, ‘Seriously guys, I’m not lying, but as you prayed for me it was like the headache just lifted off me.’
She had never experienced a miracle so tangibly in her life and was shocked by it. But this is normal Christianity. We should not be surprised by it. Rather we should be surprised when it is not the norm.
It is time for us to raise the bar of expectations that our children will dig into God at home on a daily basis, they will be changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, they will receive power to be witnesses to Jesus, they will change. Expect their spiritual lives to grow as you imitate the early disciples and devote yourself to prayer for your children. As the writer of Hebrews says in chapter 6 verse 12, ‘We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.’
Let’s expect a move of God in the hearts of our children that they will be read to be sent out into this world not to be infected by the sins of our age, but to be signposts to the redeemer.