Does the Bible say anything about the evangelization of children?The Bible encourages evangelizing children. In Matthew 28:19–20 Jesus told His disciples, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." There is no reason to think that children are not included in the "all nations." In Titus 1:6 we see the mention of children being believers. Paul talks about Timothy having been instructed in Scripture, which speaks of salvation in Jesus Christ, since childhood (2 Timothy 3:15). Paul addresses children directly in Ephesians, a letter he wrote "to the saints who are in Ephesus" (Ephesians 1:1). Children, just like adults, are in need of a Savior. Children are able to understand the gospel and come to salvation. So evangelization of children is appropriate.
The Old Testament shows that God values children. Psalm 127 says that "children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward" (Psalm 127:3). Jesus' interactions with children and His statements about children in the New Testament similarly demonstrate God's valuing of children (Mark 10:13–16; Matthew 18:2–6). The Old Testament also places importance on instructing children in God's Word and surrounding them in His truth continually (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19). Similarly, Ephesians 6:4 instructs, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Because children are such an important blessing they need to be instructed in the way of the Lord. Proverbs says to "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).
Psalm 8:2 talks about children praising God: "Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger." Matthew 21:15 records children shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David!" at Jesus' triumphal entry. Again, children are valued by God, in need of a Savior, and able to understand and believe the gospel. That means evangelization of children is important. Children who believe can, in turn, share the gospel with their peers.
The Gospel of Mark records an essential passage concerning evangelization of children: "And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, 'Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them" (Mark 10:13–16). Jesus welcomed children into His presence to receive His love even when He was "busy" teaching the crowds. Jesus desired for the children to come to Him, and He took time to love them the way that they needed to be loved, even performing miracles on children (Mark 5:21–43; Mark 9:14–29; Luke 7:11–17).
Jesus takes the evangelization of children seriously. While there were adults bringing children to meet Jesus in the Mark 10 passage, unfortunately the adults closest to Jesus were hindering the children from coming into His presence. As adults, we can help lead children to Christ or hinder them. Jesus strongly warned against hindering the ministry to children, saying, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea'" (Matthew 18:5–6).
Evangelizing children is essential because they will one day cease to be children. They will become the leaders, the pastors, the servants of their generation. If we fail to lead them to Christ and instead hinder them, then they will become like the Israelites in Judges 2:10–11: "And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals."
There are many organizations that aim to bring the gospel to children that you can take part in to help bring the gospel to children. Ministries like Child Evangelism Fellowship, Compassion, AWANA, and even your local church's children's ministry are working hard to reach children all over the world. You may have the ability to personally minister to children—if so, be blessed for this opportunity and take advantage of it! If you are not able to personally minister to children, then consider financially supporting a ministry geared toward children. Most importantly, pray for the children around you and the rest of the world that they may come to know their Heavenly Father.
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