Ask children’s ministry leaders, “Why did you choose to get involved in kids’ ministry?” It won’t be long before you hear them say, “I love children!” Amen. If you don’t truly love kids, stay far away from children’s ministry!
But I wonder if we don’t love children as much as we say we do. We eagerly desire more children in our church programs, but do we eagerly desire more children in our families? Are we praying for more marriages and more babies? Are we praying for more adoptions and foster care placements? Warning: Controversy ahead!
Pro-Life is Not Enough
Churches which embrace a biblical vision and Christian worldview are not just pro-life, they are pro-child. They not only do all in their power to protect children at risk of being murdered in the womb (pro-life), but they eagerly desire the blessing of many children into their families (pro-child).
Does your local church celebrate the news of a new pregnancy, a new adoption, or a new foster child? God would have our churches overflow with the words of Jesus, “Let the little children come!”
Unless the Lord Builds the House
Psalm 127 contains a powerful message, but many people miss it all together. This psalm is a short poem containing only five verses, but it is rarely preached or taught as a single unit. Rather, people take the first two verses and apply them totally out of context with the remainder of the psalm. Here are the first two verses.
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is in vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (Psalm 127:1-2).
This portion is ripped out of context and Christians are told something along the lines of, “If you plan your life apart from God, you are wasting your time. You need to build your future on the sure foundation of God.” Such teaching is certainly true, but Psalm 127:1 is not a general message about trusting God and including Him in your plans. Remember, this psalm only contains five verses! It is one unit and was never intended to be separated into disjointed sections. Here are the final three verses.
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them! They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:3-5).
What is God speaking about in Psalm 127? The blessing, reward, and Kingdom impact of children … many children! God says that children are a heritage. God says that children are a reward!
Pregnant and Ashamed
A few months ago, a woman shared a heartbreaking story with me. God had blessed her and her husband with eight children. Every day, they were pouring themselves out with Great Commission intensity to “make disciples” of these immortal souls whom God had entrusted into their care. Then came more blessed news. She was pregnant! Their emotions were completely torn. On one hand, they were rejoicing that God had seen fit to reward them again. On the other hand, they were terrified to share the news. They weren’t worried about sharing with their neighbors. They weren’t worried about sharing with their co-workers. They were afraid to share with their brothers and sisters in Christ at church. They simply could not again face the looks of disapproval and even outright criticism they had experienced before from the people who should have been celebrating more than anyone else!
One of the great concerns in the early church was the infiltration of worldly philosophy into the church. I believe it is happening today in a far greater degree than we realize. How could a Christian local church look down upon a couple who was eagerly welcoming children into the world? This happens when the church draws its philosophy from the world rather than from the Bible alone.
God says we are blessed when the house is filled with kids! The spirit of the world disagrees. “Two kids should be enough for everyone.” “Three at the absolute max!”
The point here is not that all good Christians have lots of kids or that if you don’t have children or have a small family that you are unspiritual. We have friends who have lost many children due to miscarriages. (Praise God those babies are safe with their Heavenly Father). Others are called to the ministry of adoption and foster care. In the sovereignty of God, some married couples are never blessed with children. This is a deep grief that can only be understood by those who have experienced it. God is the One who opens and closes the womb. If this is your situation, continue to trust God. Trust His sovereignty. Bring Him glory every day through your faithfulness, trusting His faithfulness.
Church Growth the Old-Fashioned Way
God not only grows churches by spiritual reproduction but through physical reproduction. We are called to make disciples spiritually and literally. Let’s boldly proclaim that having and raising godly children is missional, externally-focused, Great Commission ministry.
Let’s passionately preach the Word of God, in defiance to Satan and his demons, “be fruitful and multiply!”
Let’s celebrate the godly mother who is laying her life down over and over again through pregnancy, delivery, and sleepless nights so that the world might be increasingly filled with the worship of God!
Let’s celebrate children!