Standing Alongside Our Children

Worship had just wrapped up and a frenzy of children and parents were making their way back to the Family Ministry wing for kids classes. A young boy in our congregation was racing toward the back with a huge grin on his face. Then he slammed his brakes right in front of me and looked at me in the eyes. “Thank you for baptizing me,” he said, his face brightening even more.

Then he got a bit more serious: “I might have been too scared to do it if my uncle hadn’t been there. I love my uncle.”

This 6-year-old boy was by far the youngest person to enter the waters that baptism day. Before his uncle and I baptized him, I told him: “You are the youngest one being baptized today but you are the bravest.”

But even the bravest kids need an adult by their side sometimes.

At Delaware City Vineyard, I see this happen all the time. Sometimes it’s a Family Ministry volunteer sitting next to a brave but nervous child visiting church for the first time. It’s classroom leaders helping a child pray out loud for the first time. I’ve seen a dad stand next to his daughter while she courageously read Scripture in front of the congregation.

On a personal note, I am grateful for the adults in our church who encouraged my 6-year-old son to try something new – learning to play the drums. And a young man who came alongside my boy and began teaching him how to play. I’m grateful for the young adults from DCV who cheer on my boys at their soccer games.

“Daddy, I have a lot of fans,” my oldest said after one of his games.

Research from Fuller Youth Institute shows that children need at least five adults that are on their team, spending time with them, opening Scripture with them and praying for them. The more adult voices the better.

Children who have those five adults (or more) on their team are more likely to have a resilient, strong faith that lasts beyond high school.

The famous Proverb rings true: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Like physical training, spiritual training takes multiple coaches and voices.

Jesus was always trying to get his disciples to draw near to children. In one scene in Mark 9, as Jesus walked with his disciples, they began arguing about who was the greatest. When Jesus asked them what they were arguing about, the disciples grew quiet.

Jesus then led a child to the center of them and picked her up in his arms and said: “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

The message was sent. You want to be great in the Kingdom? You want to be like King Jesus?

Do what he did. Welcome the children. Lift up the children. Put them in the middle of what you are doing.

In John 6, Andrew introduced a boy to Jesus who had five loaves and two fish. The boy offered up the meager offering in faith, and Jesus multiplied it to feed 5,000 hungry people.

Children will do brave things that will amaze you. But they need an adult standing next to them.

Over 60 members of DCV have given their "yes" to caring for the children of our church through Family Ministry. We are always looking for substitute and midweek volunteers for Family Ministry. If you are interested, contact our family ministry coordinator at

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