It has been a great joy to receive photos of so many children from our churches and mission works. Each picture tells its own story. Behind each face is a precious soul with untold future potential. These photos show us the impact the ministry of our denomination is having upon children in various parts of the world. I hope you are blessed when you read Rev. George Morrison’s article “The Child in the Midst.” Ministering to children is an honourable work for it is what the Lord Himself delighted to do while He was on earth. Teachers may not always think so when they have had a “hair-pulling-out meeting” with boisterous children, but for the most part children are a dream audience. They rise to great heights of enthusiasm and receive the gospel truths with much youthful enjoyment.
When teaching children the gospel message—which I have done quite a lot over the years—I have learned to ask the children to give me their eyes. The teacher’s hope is to hold each child’s attention and keep him or her riveted on the facts and lessons of the gospel message.
Just as we seek to preach so that men and women are soundly converted through the work of the Holy Spirit, boys and girls also need to be born again. We must not assume they are ready for heaven until they have heard the gospel message and personally received the Lord into their hearts. Though children of believing parents have many privileges, we know that children are not saved by family relationship, nor by the external ministry of the church. They must be individually born of God’s Spirit through the effectual call of the gospel. All parents therefore should plead God’s covenant promises and pray that the Holy Spirit will do His gracious work in the hearts of their children.
For this reason God has told us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). As we explain the gospel and apply it to our children’s minds and hearts we depend totally on God to open their hearts and bring them to faith in Christ. Wonderfully, and in covenant-keeping grace, God has promised this blessing to His people: “As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and forever” (Isaiah 59:21). Whether our children are yet around our feet or grown up and away from home, every parent should earnestly plead the promises of God for their children.
It is my prayer that this issue of Current will stir each reader to pray for children to be blessed with the knowledge and saving power of the gospel. I hope that you will pray for the children pictured in these pages who are already blessed with gospel ministry. Pray for them in their differing lands and homes and as they face their various temptations. They are each precious in the Lord’s sight. He knows them each one by name and He knows all their spiritual needs. Pray for the workers and teachers who pour themselves into the lives of these children instructing them in the ways of the Lord. May it please God to hear your prayers for Jesus’ sake. Then there will be joy in heaven over each child that is brought to faith in Christ and there will be joy in homes around the world as little ones display their new life in Christ.
Perhaps God will also empower you to teach the gospel to boys and girls. There are endless possibilities for those who seek to minister the gospel to children, whether it be to children in your own home, in the church, in your community, or on the mission field..
Young people who are seeking to find opportunities of service for the Lord will discover that children’s ministry is a good place to begin. I believe that speaking to children has helped me to develop as a preacher, though some might think I should do much more of it! I rejoice, however, if God uses me to reach the mind and heart of a child with the good news of the gospel.
Surely it is time for God’s people to pray for a revival of gospel work among boys and girls within our whole denomination. Pray for our Sunday schools to be filled with boys and girls who are keen to hear the story of the Saviour. Pray for teachers to be Spirit-filled to bring the message of the gospel with Holy Ghost power to these precious souls. We ought to pray that children will be soundly converted and nurtured in the faith for we know that the Lord delights to save and to bless children with salvation.
If you find yourself as the teacher with only one or two boys or girls in your class don’t be discouraged. Your labor for the Lord is not in vain. While we are jealous of those with opportunities to speak to larger groups of children—and they seem to be on the mission field rather than in our home churches—it is good to remember that to speak to one boy or girl for Christ is still a work worthy of our all. Remember the conversion of Robert Moffatt, who was the only convert in his church over a whole year of gospel ministry. The minister didn’t give in to discouragement, and God took that boy from Scotland to the heartland of Africa as His missionary to preach to teeming multitudes. As we teach even the smallest class of children hope springs up in our hearts as we think of their potential for God’s glory. With His blessing to save and sanctify children through His Word tomorrow’s church will come forth from the ranks of today’s Sunday school classes. What joy it will bring to us if it be those now under our tender shepherding care.