By Kayla Stevens
Celebrate. The word is simple enough, but in the midst of a pandemic, unrest, and uncertainty, celebration may have taken a backseat in your ministry goals. But these verses in Luke 15 remind us that God celebrates.
“But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:22-24)
Like a father whose son has returned, God celebrates salvation.
And so should we!
As you begin planning what God wants to do in your ministry for 2021, I hope you will anticipate the celebrations to come. Kids in your ministry may experience the life changing power of Jesus this year. As you anticipate and pray for what God will do in the minds and hearts of kids, consider these four touch points of ways to multiply celebration.
Celebrate with the child. Take time to celebrate the child’s newfound faith individually with that child. Look for opportunities to share your joy and excitement through conversations, a card, or a video chat. Your words matter. Convey how you have prayed for this child and his or her salvation and watched God answer. There is no substitute for the personal interaction with the new believer.
Celebrate with the family. Consider the child’s family dynamics and discover appropriate ways to connect and celebrate their child’s newfound faith in Jesus. Provide helpful tools, such as I’m a Christian Now, for parents to walk through with their child. Invite the family to your home and let the child choose the menu. Talk about age-appropriate Bibles that parents or grandparents can provide for the new Christian. Take the opportunity to personally pray for the child and the family. Find creative avenues to involve the whole family in celebrating what God has done in this child’s life.
Celebrate with friends. Create space in your ministry for kids to celebrate with other kids. Kids usually enjoy the special attention that adults give, but there is also something special about kids celebrating God’s work in their lives with other kids. Invite one or two influential kids in your ministry to write cards to the child, congratulating them on their new faith in Jesus. Consider allowing time for the child to share his story and emphasize the value and importance of kids making a personal relationship with Jesus.
Celebrate with the church. Make sure to include the corporate church in the celebration as well. Typically, this celebration happens at baptism or in publicly presenting a new Bible to that child. Other opportunities might include a family re-dedication, inviting leaders involved in this child’s discipleship to join the child and family in a public prayer. Perhaps this child went through a family dedication as a baby or toddler where the family and church committed to partnering together to teach him or her spiritual truth. Now might be an appropriate time to recommit as a church congregation to pray for this new believer. Lead the church congregation to encourage, equip, and partner with this family in prayer and discipleship.
As you join God in celebrating new believers in your ministry, create experiences your kids will remember long into their adulthood years of those who celebrated their new-found faith alongside them.
For additional resources and ways to resource families of new believers in your ministry, visit lifeway.com/kidsdiscipleship.
Kayla Stevens is a Content Editor for Lifeway Kids Team. She is a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and William Carey University. Kayla lives in Nashville, Tennessee and has served in Kids ministry for over 10 years.