Before you get into reading this blog post, I need to apologize. I know that what I am going to share is so, so simple and yet, perhaps so simple that it is overlooked and ignored in many children’s ministries. Here are some facts …
- If a child is capable of understanding God’s gift to the sinner (salvation), then a child is capable of understanding God’s gift to the believer (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit).
- If a child is capable of receiving the gift of salvation, then a child is capable of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- If a child is capable of knowing that they have received eternal life, then a child is capable of knowing that they have been filled with God’s Spirit.
If all three of these statements are true (and they are), why aren’t all of the children in our Sunday school classrooms and mid-week Bible clubs and children’s church auditoriums baptized in the Holy Spirit? If the truth be known, if asked about God’s greatest gift to the Christian, most children in our ministries would be absolutely clueless. Am I right?
God has not changed in His desire to fulfill His promise (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16-18, 39) to give the Holy Spirit to all those who ask. (Luke 11:13). This “all” includes every child in your ministry. God has been waiting to hear the sound of a child’s voice asking to receive the fulfillment of His promise. But, this only happens when you and I as leaders act as though the three facts are actually true and are put into practice.
Here is a brief overview for what is needed to see every child receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit:
- Since a child is capable of understanding about God’s gift to the believer, we must prepare the way through the preaching and teaching. We see that Jesus just didn’t tell His followers to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. He first taught about this Comforter (John 14 – 16) before giving the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Over a period of a few weeks, introduce the Person of the Holy Spirit, tell of His assignment, and giving illustrations/testimonies of who He is and what He does in your life.
- Since a child is capable of receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, after the foundation is laid, boldly provide the opportunity for the child to ask. Have a service that is almost totally dedicated to altar ministry. Be sure to spend time with those working alongside of you to insure that they know how to pray with the children.
- Since a child is capable of knowing that they have been filled with God’s Spirit, show them from God’s Word the biblical evidence as seen in Acts 2:4; Acts 10:45-46; Acts 19:6. Really, this should be a repeat from what was taught in the preparatory teachings. But, it is important that this truth is emphasized as a way of confirming what God has done.
I hate the self-imposed word limit that I use in writing this blog. (Honestly, I have already exceeded it.) If space would allow, I would share about the importance of using these three facts to be the launching of a series about the value of the walk of the Spirit and another series about the necessity and benefits of praying in the Spirit. In other words, to me, it is critical that what was accomplished around your altars doesn’t become just an entry into their diary as a spiritual “experience”. Instead, it needs to become the beginning of a new-found relationship with the Holy Spirit and you are there to help nurture this relationship. Perhaps I will post blogs about this in the weeks to come. (I know that it will be in an upcoming book.)