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Y2K is not over; it's only just begun! You know of course, that Y2K stands for Yes-to-Kids. From the beginning of time, God has been saying yes to kids. God loves kids. In Matthew 19:14, "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'"

God wants us, as a corporate body of believers and as individuals, to love children. In this light, I pose the question: Are you Yes-to-Kids compliant?

In the midst of the fear and turmoil over Y2K last fall, I wanted to ensure that our families and our church were Yes-to-Kids compliant. Now that we're in this new millennium, I'm working to ensure that we continue to be Y2K or Yes-to-Kids compliant until Jesus comes again.

Fear of economic failures, transportation breakdowns, and power outages are irrelevant if children aren't living for God. Computer meltdowns don't seem very important if boys and girls grow up without Jesus.

This world is out to destroy our children. Every day, newspapers record this attack on childhood. I read of 8- and 9-year-olds stealing from and killing others. Children have been murdered by their parents. Boys and girls are hurting emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Children are bombarded with sex, graphic violence, and promises of instant gratification through the media.

In the middle of the enemy's attack on childhood, I want to challenge you and your church to become Yes-to-Kids compliant. To be Yes-to-Kids compliant, your church needs these three things.

1. Energetic Outreach-God says yes to reaching out to children and to children reaching out to others. That's exciting! The greatest joy of my life has been to lead my own children to Jesus. I prayed in the big blue chairs with Tim, at the altar with Rachel, by the bed in the parsonage with Sarah. Aaron prayed by himself one night when he was 4. Does your church give children opportunities to place their faith in Jesus?

2. Encouragement and Education-God says yes to kids growing up in an atmosphere of encouragement and education in his Word. That's why I believe in training parents. Children should be actively involved in weekly church programs, but three hours in formal Christian education settings won't fully train a child.

Parents must be involved in the Christian education process, yet many have never acquired the skills to do this. Your church can become a resource center empowering moms and dads to fulfill their God-ordained function as primary Christian educators of their children. When parents become involved in encouraging and training their children, then children grow up knowing that God is not limited to Sunday activities. He's a great big God who cares about our everyday lives.

3. Expectation and Exaltation-God says yes to children joyfully participating in his family. The psalmist wrote, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger" (Psalm 8:2). As we encourage children to practice lives of exaltation, we can expect to see God's hand at work in their everyday experiences.

In Judges 2:10 we find a generation that failed the Yes-to-Kids compliance test. This verse says, "After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel." An entire generation had passed-on leaving little of their godly heritage for the next generation. That generation was not Yes-to-Kids compliant.

Let us be the kind of parents, pastors, and church leaders who say yes to kids. Let us commit ourselves anew to seeing this generation grow strong in the Lord and the power of his might. You can be part of the answer. I can be part of the answer. With Jesus' help, our churches can be Yes-to-Kids compliant.

Dick Gruber is a children's pastor in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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