Want to know where a person's heart is? Watch how little children respond to them. Prideful, self-absorbed, and dense religious leaders want to get the little kids out when it's time for them to give their sermons. A child might loudly blurt out an embarrassing response to a rhetorical question or whisper to their mom, "How much longer is this going to be?" when all the adults know just as well that the entire diatribe is rather boring. On the other hand, take a look at the Gospels and see how kids responded to Jesus. When He needed a child to illustrate a point about humble leadership in His Kingdom, He didn't have to look far to set a child in the midst of His disciples. Need some food to feed thousands? The disciples didn't have to go all the way to the children's church to find a boy's lunch.

When I first started preaching, in the early days of the church we started, I began Sunday's message with all the younger kids gathered around as I sat on a stool and told them a story rooted in the text we were going to explore. Adults often admitted that this was the best part of the message. They understood the point. As we grew and became more sophisticated, the kids would worship with us and then exit before the message. In retrospect I'm not sure this was such a good idea. Jesus knew what He was doing when He spoke to children who were sitting right there with the adults when He taught. Maybe it would be good to try a new, progressive idea that bucks the present tradition of separating all the ages from one another in their own focused groups. Maybe it’s time to have families sit together at least once a week and listen to God's Word.

 

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