Did you know this about our iKidz ministry?
It’s summertime, which means it’s graduation season at Ignition Church!
Some of you have never heard of graduation at Ignition, so let me explain: every year we have kids “graduate” from iKidz – our children’s ministry at Ignition. iKidz runs concurrently with our main worship experience on Sundays, and includes kids from 6 weeks all the way up to and through 5th grade. The summer before they enter middle school, they “graduate” from iKidz, and the Class of 2018 will graduate later this summer! It’s an exciting time when we get to celebrate them and what Jesus has done in their life.
Now, it’s at this age that traditionally the church labels them as “youth” and sticks them in the basement and gives them pizza until they smell better. But that’s not how we do it at Ignition. We believe they can and should participate in the life of the larger church body.
But preparation for this begins well before graduation – it starts with the seeds we sow intentionally from the moment they walk into iKidz. This is done because of what we believe about our children, based on how Jesus interacted with kids.
One time when Jesus was traveling along doing ministry, a group of children gathered around him and I’m sure they wanted to play. That’s what kids do! Jesus was no doubt on a mission to someplace as he always was, and his schedule was packed as it always was. He only had 3 years to awaken the known world to His presence as the Messiah, and plant the seeds of the coming Kingdom in order to save the world.
No big deal. Plenty of time for goofing around, right?
Understanding this (and wanting to appear as important assistants to Jesus’ ministry), the disciples began to chase off the kids and admonish the parents. After all, Jesus was an important person with important things to do, can’t they keep their kids in-line? No time for fun and games when you have a world to save. All kidding aside, it seems to make sense, right? Kids are not as critical as adults in the mission to establish God’s kingdom, right?
How can they really contribute?
But Jesus passionately stops the disciples, which no doubt had to be a bit embarrassing as they thought they were being helpful. Instead of, “Thanks guys – it’s hard being the Savior, don’t want to disappoint anybody, but we got work to do – I appreciate you bailing me out…” they get admonished. Mark records that Jesus said:
“Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Then Jesus proceeded to play and pray with these kids, while the disciples likely stood by bewildered.
Many of us have been taught about what it means to have childlike faith, and everyone has heard the phrase, “faith like a child” (you’re welcome children of the 90’s… now Jars of Clay is stuck in your head). But I want to think about that phrase Jesus directed at the disciples – the adults in this scenario: “Don’t ever get between them and me.”
It’s easy to think kids learn about God from adults. But in this case, it’s seems Jesus is saying, the adults need to learn about God from kids. Yes, there is much discipleship involved in parenting, but the point we can be sure Jesus is making is that He has His own relationship with children, independent of adults. Children don’t receive a junior Holy Spirit. In other words, they don’t have to receive or relate to the Holy Spirit through adults – they can relate to and receive from Him on their own.
We have seen this first hand at Ignition, and it shapes how we do ministry with kids. We believe that our kids aren’t just the future of our church – they are the church. And we can’t wait to celebrate with them later this summer!