Heart Matters: Say Yes to Kids

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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.'”

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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.

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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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