But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matt 19:14
A question that is probably asked of most pastors has to do with how do we get children and youth involved in church? And if they are involved then how do we keep them involved? Speaking from nearly thirty years of pastoral experience which includes serving in two States, as the founding pastor of one congregation, serving as assistant pastor in the largest Native American congregation in the United Methodist church in addition to serving three others as pastor and now serving as pastor in the second church in the Lumber River Conference of the Holiness Methodist church the answer is clear. As adult leaders we must make the church important to our children.
In this regard it is the leadership which has failed the younger generation of church. It is often said that the children are the church of the future. Jesus made it a point to let those around him know that children are important right now. As church leaders extraordinary efforts should be made to make the church important to the children and youth not only in our midst but in the communities in which we exist. Attempts at making this very thought a reality can be seen across the conference with events like the bowling day, family camp, the mission day, the Back-to-school bash, Vacation Bible School and several others which are all wonderful events. But for those who attend they are quick to recognize that most of the conference clergy fail to attend.
However, this is not only the plight of the church but is most assuredly the responsibility of the parents. We emphasis education therefore we make our children arise early five days a week eight hours a day because it is “important” yet allow them to stay in bed on Sunday morning instead of going to church it must not be important. We teach them as young people to seek out employment, to work hard and save their money so that they can purchase and possess. At the same-time we them up to the mountains and down to the beach, or to the golf course or whatever else it might be with the idea that Sunday is our day off, unless the church and more importantly the work of Christ is not of special interest to the parents it most definitely will not be of importance to their children. Look at it this way if the children are not important to the church, the church will not be important to the children.