If you are looking for ways to build a strong, spiritual future for little learners, consider the twelve truths listed in this blog.
In chapter nine of his Gospel, Luke records a “reasoning” that arose between Jesus’ disciples about who would be the greatest in His kingdom. Before their reasoning could escalate into a debate or even an argument, Jesus stepped in with some reasoning of His own. Verse 47 states that Jesus perceived the thoughts of their hearts and pulled a little child close to sit beside Him. Jesus told His disciples, “Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.” In an instant, a discussion about becoming great became a declaration about becoming least.
A young lady attending Urshan College via distance learning approached me about one of her assignments. Knowing that I am an editor for the youngest level of children’s curriculum, she wanted my opinion on the topic of nursery and toddler programs within the church—specifically if they should be considered an important ministry and if there was a biblical basis for them.
My mind immediately went to Scriptures where Jesus used a child to teach about having faith and, as referenced above, receiving Him and fitting into His kingdom. If children are important to Jesus, they should be important to us. Therefore, the issue is not about whether or not a young child is important but whether early childhood church programs could really be considered ministries. I assured the student that these programs most definitely are.Building a strong, spiritual future begins with building a strong, spiritual foundation Click To Tweet
Jesus Met Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Needs
Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers rely on their caregivers and teachers within the church nursery and classrooms to meet three important needs: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Those needs must be met and met in that order for a connection to develop. (Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, we see that He typically met people’s needs in that same order.)
A young child’s basic physical needs can be met in the church classroom through serving snack, changing diapers, and maintaining a safe environment.
If children are important to Jesus, they should be important to us.
Emotional needs can be met through comforting children, giving gentle hugs, and being a consistent, smiling presence. Once love and trust are established between the child and teacher through meeting physical and emotional needs, the teacher can begin to meet a child’s spiritual needs by singing worship songs, reading Bible stories, and teaching biblical truths through games and crafts.
Building a strong, spiritual future begins with building a strong, spiritual foundation. Any ministry that works toward this goal is important. Children may only be in our churches for an hour or two each week, but the church plays a considerable role in shaping how children will view God and lays the groundwork for their understanding of truth. Young students may not be able to comprehend or appreciate this, but the church must.
Build a Strong, Spiritual Future Teaching from These Truths
The following truths about God are a few of the crucial foundational elements of early childhood spiritual education:
- There is one God.
- God’s name is Jesus.
- The name of Jesus is powerful.
- Jesus made us.
- Jesus loves us.
- The Bible is God’s Word.
- God wants us to obey His Word.
- God’s Word helps us.
- God keeps His promises.
- Jesus saves us.
- Jesus wants us to go to Heaven.
- Jesus is coming again.
For engaging, age-appropriate, Apostolic curriculum that teaches these truths and more, see God’s Word for Life.
Shannon Wilpitz is the Little Learners field editor with Pentecostal Publishing House and is a licensed minister with the UPCI. Children’s ministry is her passion.