Every Member In Ministry
Before considering the place of children in every member in ministry, it is important to establish that children are members!
1 Corinthians 12:12
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many are one body so it is with Christ.”
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the hand to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable. As you consider your children, how often do we consider them "weaker" and "indispensable" to the body of Christ? The truth is that without them we are incomplete; without them, there are parts of the body missing. This is a wakeup call to the body of Christ to mobilize this army of little people, to bring us all to the fullness of Christ as a complete body.
So, how can we bring them into every member ministry?
Firstly, by mobilizing them through small groups where they can find their identity and their gifts can be released. "To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." As they are encouraged and given the freedom to release what God has entrusted to them, so we will all benefit. Such powerful prophecies have been released through children, miracles of healing, words of knowledge that have been released with their simple faith and uncomplicated minds.
Lawrence Khong tells of the day he had a service where he "gave away" half his congregation who were Chinese to a local Chinese Pastor. It was a day of great rejoicing yet at the same time a day of great challenge to Pastor Lawrence. At the end of the service he was gathering his Bible and getting ready to leave when a little boy came to him and said "Pastor Lawrence, Jesus wants you to know that today you passed the test." From that time on his church exploded!
A testimony was reported to me of how a member had not arrived at the small group meeting because of a migraine attack. A child was asked to pray for that member so the child said, "Dear Lord Jesus please heal her headache, take away the pain and don't let her die." The small group leader proceeded to explain that one did not die from a migraine. The next day the small group leader phoned to see how the group member was. "Haven't you heard? She has meningitis!"... and she did not die!
The whole lifestyle of community releases children into ministry. They love to have responsibility: to be named on the hosting schedule, to be responsible for the ice breaker, to help with the preparation of the Worship. Children are natural evangelists; they love to be a part of expressing the love of Jesus to the community. I have seen children leading people in residential homes to Jesus, being part of expressing the love of Jesus in shopping districts by cleaning people's shoes, serving free beef burgers on the streets, and being tremendous ambassadors for the Kingdom.
In intergenerational groups, their ministry is released within the context of their family to all generations, in children's small groups they minister to each other, in evangelism they minister to the lost. Above all, they minister to the heart of their heavenly Father who trusts each of them with the precious gift of His Holy Spirit. If He can trust them, how can we delay releasing them to be all that He has purposed for them in this day?
Imagine a generation who will grow up having a lifestyle of ministry. They will be teenagers who know how to take the Kingdom, adults who flow into all that God has for them, and above all they will know how to disciple their own children to be active members of the body of Christ, vital and indispensable members!