The Lord has been dealing with a lot on the way I treat my kids. Let me explain; children do not receive a junior version of the Holy Spirit. Period. The same Spirit living in me is in them. That means they have access to everything that I have access to in Christ. In fact, you can make the argument that they may have more access. Jesus defended the children when the disciples said he was too busy. We are to come to Jesus in child-like obedience. The bible is clear about the status of children in the eyes of our Savior.
I have been an advocate for family worship and family discipleship. This is good, but I am seeing that I have been missing something. Let me explain:
I was reading a book this morning by Karen Barnes entitled: "Kids Can HEAR*DO*GO." Here is a quote that got me this morning:
Psalm 127:3 says, "Behold children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward" (NASB). Unfortunately, many times adults think of them as too immature, too little, or not ready for the deeper things of God. A typical Sunday morning class might be teaching a Bible story, maybe doing a craft, singing a couple of songs, trying to memorize a Bible verse, and making sure they have their take home 'hand out' as they run out the door. For a few kids, they will gain head knowledge, and might even be able to quote Scripture, but for the majority of the children, the material will be lost to them.
Why is this? Because they did not connect the 'truth' they memorized with the person of Jesus. There was no encounter with Christ to further deepen and solidify their experience. In Jesus' parable of the sower and the seeds in Matthew 13:19, He says, "When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart."
There has to be a better way to bring children into a deeper relationship with God. How can we get kids to consistently and honestly seek after God and encounter Him? We want their lives to be changed, and for them to fully understand WHO God is, HOW He loves them, WHAT kind of power is available to them, WHEN they can access His presence, and WHY it's so much fun getting close to Jesus.
This can only be accomplished through relationship with the Father. It has to be more than just a corporate prayer at the beginning and end of class. Although grounding in the Word is vital for growth and necessary to nurture and maintain a healthy relationship with the Lord, it has to be more than head knowledge that they MIGHT or might not take away from classes. Children need an intimate close, encounter with God that they just cannot get through lesson plans alone. They need to be taught how to sense His awesome presence, and be able to 'tune in' to His voice.