Children are a heritage from the Lord
The country does not need mini-theologians nor saints, but young Christians who have a good relationship with Jesus and are excited about God. And this is what parents and teachers want for their children.
No one is born a convinced Christian who takes his faith into his own hands. A foundation must be created to be able to build trust in God and all that He does. Teaching and experiences with God are required so that one’s faith in Him can develop. This applies to both young people as well as seniors.
Creating ways for a Christian upbringing
There are different motivations for bringing children up in the Christian faith.
The love of parents for their children. Believing parents want their children to enjoy the same security, the same joy, and the same hope they themselves derive from their faith. This motivates parents to be role models for their children and to share with them the experiences they have made with God.
The commission given to parents by God. “Already in the Old Testament, the Lord commands parents to instruct their children about His deeds and ordinances. This is part of a conscientious upbringing” (Catechism of the New Apostolic Church 12.4.1). This directive still applies today. In awareness of the responsibilities resulting from this, parents are charged with the task of guiding their children in self-responsible conduct in accordance with the basic values of the gospel. This includes instructing them to love God and their neighbour. They are also required to be examples to them in prayer life and in faithful offering.
The promise given by parents to God. At the time of Holy Baptism and Holy Sealing, parents profess their faith in Jesus Christ and assume the responsibility for the religious upbringing of their child in accordance with the gospel.
Making room for children: children are part of the church
Young Christians are not only the future of the church, they constitute the church already now. They belong to the congregation just like anybody else: students, single mothers, middle-aged couples, active retirees, and the Priests. There is room for everyone in the church—whether in large congregations or in smaller ones. Care is provided for all, and there are appropriate offers for all age groups.
“It is an important task for the ministers and teachers to support parents in these responsibilities so that the children can grow up as convinced New Apostolic Christians” (CNAC 12.4.1).
Making time for God: children need the church
Sunday School is not the culmination of a busy school week, but a very special offer for young Christians. Depending on local circumstances, there are various offers ranging from Pre-Sunday School, Sunday School, religious instruction, and confirmation classes. The teachers’ objective is
- to awaken and strengthen joy in fellowship with God’s children and in the divine service.
- to impart understanding of God’s activities through Bible stories.
- to reinforce belief in divine promise.
- to explain to the children the structure of the divine services, the meaning of the sacraments and acts of blessing, and the significance of Christian holy days.
Christians do not simply allow their children to grow up so that their offspring will eventually be in a position to decide for or against believing in God—on whatever basis that is going to be then. Christians want their children to gather experiences with God already from a young age on so that they learn to trust in God and allow Him to shape their lives.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,” King Solomon said already about three thousand years ago. We can read this in Psalm 127: 3. And they deserve loving and caring parents, ministers who are aware of their responsibility, and wise teachers. Children need strong role models in faith. They are worth it.
Photo: Robert Kneschke / fotolia.de