When I was in elementary school, one of the girls started a club. She invited every girl in my class to join…except me. I was heartbroken, and longed for an invitation. As big tears rolled down my cheeks, I felt unloved and unworthy. In those moments, another voice, Jesus can proclaim Truth in our own hearts and in the hearts of our students: that we am loved deeply not because of our merit, but because of his death that covers us (Romans 5:8). I believe that that invitation is what Jesus offers our students.
My first non-negotiable is that we teach Truth and invite our kiddos to come follow Jesus. We serve the Living God who made each and every child, and then bought them with his blood. No one is excluded from the invitation. I want every child to walk away with that Truth, which leads to my first point of my philosophy of ministry: “Inviting children to come to Jesus, and teaching them about his plan for them. When Jesus disciples tried to hinder the children from “bothering” him, he told them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). We desire that every child will come to know Jesus personally.”
Pragmatically, I tried to accomplish this by intentionally using weekly Communion as a focused teaching time. So much beauty and natural conversation resides in this ceremony; during the first communion, Jesus instructed his disciples to do this in remembrance of him each time they meet. I personally believe that he pictured families using this time to pass down the Gospel.
Before we begin, I lay out expectations. Communion is a very serious time. Then I ask the students why Communion is special. I try to make sure the students hit several points. I let them teach by asking leading questions:
- What is Communion? When was the first Communion? What do we remember during Communion?
- Why did Jesus die? He’s the powerful God of the Universe; how were men able to kill him? What was our problem that we needed him to fix?
- Because this is such a serious thing to remember, how do you think we should behave during this time? What is appropriate behavior?
First, I begin by talking about the origin of Communion. Jesus first told his disciples to break bread and drink wine to remember his body and his blood at a Passover celebration. A highly unexpected detour, his disciples did not understand (Luke 22). That night, however, soldiers arrested Jesus, tried him during the night, and then crucified him the next day (Luke 22-23).
We then talk about Jesus’ power. He died not by force, but by choice (Matthew 23:53). Jesus helped create the universe (John 1:2); no men can contain him or control him. He died to free us from the curse of sin, so that we may approach him fearlessly (1 Peter 2:24).
I then launch a conversation on sin. Sin is when we break God’s rules, and the Bible says that the punishment for sin is VERY SERIOUS; sin=death. From the Old Testament sin offerings of Leviticus (specifically, chapters 4-6) to the New Testament understanding of sin (Romans 6:23), sin is a BIG DEAL, and the Bible also tells us that everyone is guilty (Romans 3:23). The only way for sinners to have a relationship with God is for blood to be shed. Jesus came and freed of us from our sin, forgiving us and giving us his Spirit to help us become more like him.