According to the recently released poll by ShahidiHub Africa on, “The State of the Church in Kenya During the Covid-19 Pandemic,”
“The top three groups that have not been given adequate and specific attention through the ongoing online or offline programs are Children (0-11Years)- (64.57%); Elderly (70+ years)- (61.07%), and, Teenage Group (12-19 Years)- (30.77%).”
It is sad that the Children’s ministry tops the list, yet this group represents the future of the church.
Spiritual formation is of great essence for every believer, including children. But how can the church of Christ be spiritually formed to transform the world amid crisis, suffering, evil, and uncertainties? To be even more specific, how can the church sustain children’s spiritual formation in such times and not neglect it as it is often the case even during ‘normal’ times.
Bill Hybels, a renowned leader’s trainer said “The local church is the hope of the world” The church, which is the community of believers, has a big role to play in the restoration and transformation of children who will in turn transform the world now and in the future. The family unit plays a key role in promoting this local church function.
In Genesis 18:19, God gives the reason why he had chosen Abraham; “…so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” We later see this same principle repeated in Deut. 6. The primary responsibility of discipling children lies with their parents & guardians; “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up…” (Deut. 6:6-7).
It is within our home environment – the smallest church unit! As such, this responsibility is not to be delegated to other platforms no matter how wonderful they may be, these are there to assist and guide us in what we are called to do – to disciple our children.
It is time to go back to the basics, to strengthen the family altar, and the church will grow despite the shake ups of not meeting together. He has promised!
It is highly likely that upon resumption of normal church gatherings after the Covid-19 curve flattens, a number of parents will still be hesitant to take their children to church for a period of time thus the need to think of creative ways of ministering to the children during this season and beyond. There is a need for church leaders and ministers to:
- Realize the great need for systematic teaching of the word of God to children.
- Find out approaches and methods of teaching children in the new normal.
- See how we can improve the existing delivery of the gospel to the children.
The importance of ministering to children during this period is underscored by the fact that children have questions about God cannot be overlooked. The home is the place and environment where children should hear the word of God being taught and modelled.
It is highly likely that upon resumption of normal church gatherings, after the Covid-19 curve flattens, a number of parents will still be hesitant to take their children to church for a period of time thus the need to think of creative ways of ministering to the children during this season and beyond.
Also, an article by the same author, 13 Creative Ways of Improving Your Children’s Ministry During the Covid-19 Pandemic Season.
Caroline Gitimu Kiragu
PCEA Loresho Parish.
Caroline holds a Master of Divinity in Theological Studies from Africa International University, a Bachelor of Education (Science) and is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She also holds a diploma in Holistic Nurturing of Children.