House Churches and Kids: Church is Interactive
We’ve been looking at the nature of house churches and how they help kids to get involved and participate in the life of the church. The last area that we need to touch on is often forgotten in a Western context, but it’s critical for discipleship of believers of any age, and definitely for children: the church is interactive.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he could have easily criticized the leaders of the church there for letting the meetings devolve in to chaos in the practice and use of their gifts. Instead, he wrote to the whole church to address the issue (see 1 Corinthains 1:2, 12:1). He expected the whole church to help clean up an issue that they were all making.
Then when he describes how the body should function when they gather, he describes a meeting where many people contribute all for the building up of the body. “When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you,” (1 Corinthians 14:26). This is the best description we get of the normal meeting of believers in the New Testament. In fact, it lines up with what the writer of Hebrews describes as the purpose of the church meeting together: encouraging one another (see Hebrews 10:25).
Why is this important for kids? Church was designed to be interactive as the Holy Spirit leads different members of the body. This creates a measure of spontaneity in the body that helps keep kids attention. It also, if done correctly and with the proper coaching of the kids, creates an environment where kids are able to participate with what God is doing instead of being spectators. Too often church has become something they watch instead of something they participate in.
This is the real goal of kids being involved and participating in church: We form our kids as disciples and members of the church from the moment they become followers of Jesus and even before. I remember when my oldest daughter decided to follow Jesus. We had emphasized in our churches the need for baptism as soon as someone decided to follow Christ, so at age four when she decided to follow Jesus, it was time for her to get baptized. She learned the truth about baptism as the next step in following Christ because that’s what she lived through.
But we’re after more than them just observing and learning. We are also after them sharing their gifts with us. As followers of Jesus, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, they have the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in them just as much as any adult. In fact, they may be more open to Him and His ways than we are. So an interactive church allows for kids to speak up, say what they are hearing from the Lord, pray, speak the word of the Lord, and contribute in a myriad of ways.
We just have to believe that they can and be open to them doing it.
Other Posts in the House Churches and Kids Series