by Joel Comiskey, Summer 2012
Jesus loves children. He said while on earth, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there” (Matthew 19:14-15). God loves children and prioritizes them. So should we.
We know that children are the future, and in fact, they won’t be children very long. Some will even be our future leaders. U.S. statistics tell us that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday (Barna, 2004). Of course, this may vary throughout the world, but the truth remains: we need to reach the children.
Cell churches prioritize children both in cell and celebration. I encourage, for example, churches to allow the children to stay in the adult cell for the icebreaker and worship time. During the Word time, the children can leave the adult cell and receive a personalized Bible lesson directed by one of the cell members (if necessary, the members can rotate in teaching this time). It also works to show a Christian video at this time.
When children are consistently attending the cell group, pray that God provides an adult or teenager who desires to lead a children’s cell group. This might be someone from your own adult cell group, or from your church. The children can then meet with their cell leader in a different room of the same house for the entire cell meeting (or at least for the lesson part). This is a normal, permanent children’s cell group that promotes a similar cell order-icebreaker, worship, lesson, prayer and outreach. The church should provide material for the children’s cell leader and all the support necessary.
Another option is to hold small groups for children in various neighborhoods around the city. An adult would lead this small group. These afternoon cells are a lot like the small groups of Child Evangelism Fellowship.
Children’s ministry on Sunday morning is also vital. You might not call it Sunday School, but it’s the same idea. Adults receive teaching during the celebration service, so shouldn’t the children? Yes, God calls children to celebrate and learn on Sunday.