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It’s not difficult to determine if a congregation is focused on its long-term future.

Just look at how it ministers to children.

If the classrooms and teachers are prepared for learning and loving each Sunday or when other sessions occur, a solid foundation is being laid for generations of ministry.

If there are other opportunities at least several times a month for kids — and even their parents — to get together for recreation and education, then the congregation is on the road to becoming a growing, extended family with an infectious nature.

If the above are neglected, the future is not good for the congregation.

This is to be a matter of intense prayer for every congregation, including mine.

Demographic and generational shifts have had a significant impact upon the congregation that I started serving with several months ago. But there are still hundreds of thousands of people within a 20-minute drive, including hundreds of thousands of children.

That means that opportunity exists to reach kids and their parents.

And that means that my congregation, like others in the area, is called to provide classrooms and teachers prepared for learning and loving.

I recognize that I need to pray more for this and recruit more for this and train more for this.

And I need to ask our wonderful roster of current teachers to do the same.

It’s that important, Jesus taught.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:11-14).

Jesus said just before the above statement that whoever “welcomes” a child in His name is actually welcoming Him.

That means that however we minister to children is a reflection of how we want to minister to Christ.

So ask yourself this question: What impression does my congregation’s children’s ministry give visiting parents regarding my/our love for the Lord?

The man in the parable did whatever it took to bring the wandering lamb into the fold.

Are you? Is your congregation?

Are you both rejecting the temptation to see children’s ministry as just another church budget item perhaps needing cut?

Invest in the future, my friend.

God did when He sent you into this world as a child.

Please provide a good return to God for that investment by doing more to help your congregation invest in “welcoming” Jesus via ministry to children.

As always, I love you

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