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How to Explain Communion to Children

Spiritual Formation //

Have you ever wondered how to explain communion to your children? The fact that a big plate passes in front of them with small amounts of food that they aren’t allowed to eat can be very confusing.

While we can all recognize that 1) there are minor variances in beliefs about communion among similar denominations, and 2) no one truly comprehends the full meaning of communion, explaining the basic reasons why Christians take communion to children can be very simple.

Here are 5 things you need to know about how to explain communion to children:

  1. Communion is reserved for believers. Take them to passages like 1 Cor. 11:24-25, where Jesus is addressing His followers about how communion is something that they would do together. Explain that communion is to be done by every Christian, and that Christians are supposed to do it together as the church.
  2. The purpose of communion. Look at the Scriptures together, pointing out that Jesus wants Christians to remember Him through communion, and that they should continue to do this until Christ returns again. Good passages to look at would be Matt. 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; and 1 Cor. 11:24-26.
  3. The symbolism of body and blood. Because children usually don’t begin to develop abstract thinking capabilities until they have reached the preteen/junior high age, they won’t be able to understand clearly how the bread and drink are not actually the physical flesh and blood of Christ. It will be somewhat confusing. However, you can explain that they are symbols. This might lead to more questions, at which point it is perfectly acceptable for you to take the opportunity to explain that we really don’t know anything more than that, because Jesus did not tell us any more about those elements. It’s ok to say that it’s partially a mystery to us all, because it is!
  4. Why we keep doing communion. Share that Christ told us to keep remembering Him through communion until He returned again. So until Christ returns one day, we should keep participating in communion together as a church.
  5. Before doing communion. 1 Cor. 11:28-29 says that we must examine ourselves before participating in communion. A simple way to explain this is that if they know they have done something wrong that they need to apologize for, then they need to do that before taking communion. As your children get older, you can have deeper discussions about what it means to be right before God.

If you’re wondering if your child should take communion, take a look at this article: Should My Child Take Communion?

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About the Author

Steven Knight has 10+ years of experience leading in children’s ministry. He loves to train and equip children’s and family ministry leaders through his ministry as an author and speaker. His passion is reaching families for Christ. Coffee is his friend. Keep current and equipped for children’s ministry at KidminTools.com.