The story is told in the Bible about a time in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ when some people brought their children to Him in order that He might touch them and bless them. The disciples of the Lord saw this as an unnecessary intrusion on His valuable time and attempted to stop the children from reaching Him. When Jesus saw what was happening we are told that He became greatly displeased with His disciples and uttered this now famous response: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.” With these simple words Jesus Christ affirmed the exceptional importance that He placed upon children.
Here at Charter Oak Lighthouse, we can do no less. We believe that our children are gifts sent to us from God and that each child has incredible intrinsic value. Children are important to us. They represent a vast untapped potential. They are a window into the future. Therefore, we make children’s ministry a top priority in our organizational structure and in our allocation of resources. We know that when we invest in a child, we are investing in the future — no time that we spend with a child is ever a waste of time.
Parents: An Essential Ingredient
We are living in a world in which it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise children. Our culture, it seems, has entered into an accelerating free fall into the depths of depravity. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of our society and the very lives of our own children. In these difficult times children need, more than ever before, parents who are committed to leading them into a relationship with a loving God — parents who are committed to instilling in their children Godly values which will serve as an anchor in a world that has lost it’s moral compass. Our desire is to offer parents the help and support they need in order to do an excellent job. Our children’s ministry is not just devoted to children – it is devoted to parents and their children.
The Program: Goals & Focus
Someone once said that if you never take aim at a target you can be certain that you will never hit it. This statement was never more true than when it is applied to children’s ministry. In order to have the maximum impact on our children, the ministry needs to have goals and a consistent focus.
Our children’s program is centered around two overriding goals that we find in the Scriptures: (1) Cultivating within our children a personal and saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17; John 14:6; Rom. 10:9-13), and (2) building our children up into Christ-like maturity in such a way that they live out in their lives what they have come to believe in their hearts. (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
In order to better accomplish our main goals, we focus our attention on the development of seven biblically significant areas within the spiritual lives of our children: Evangelism, Discipleship, Compassion, Worship, Fellowship, Prayer, and Love.
Evangelism. The Good News of the Gospel message is not a secret that is to be kept for a special few, but rather is a message about the love of God that is intended to be broadcast to all. We evangelize our children and encourage them to share their faith appropriately with others. Sometimes the greatest evangelist comes in the form of a little child.
Discipleship. In Luke 6:40 Jesus Christ said: “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” We can have no greater goal than to shape our children into the very image of Christ. His example is perfect – His teaching is the standard of truth.
Compassion. The ministry of our Lord was characterized by compassion that reached out to the downcast and needy. We believe that compassion is an essential character trait of a Christian. Therefore, we involve our children in acts of compassion that shine forth the love of Christ into our community with a no-strings-attached approach.
Worship. In the 7th chapter of the book of Revelation we see a great multitude of people from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues” worshipping before the throne of God. In the final analysis, salvation will result in the restoration of a people who will worship God rightly in holiness and truth. Worship, therefore, is an essential part of the believer’s life. Our desire is to teach our children to worship God in the fullness of all that they are and through all that they do.
Fellowship. Fellowship provides a way for our children to get to know one another and to develop friendships that extend beyond the walls of the church. Through various extracurricular activities we attempt to provide an environment which encourages relationship building and closeness among our children.
Prayer. Prayer is the believer’s link to the very heart of God. As a vital part of the Christian life, we teach our children to pray and encourage them to develop a prayer-life of their own.
Love. In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” The love of God is the glue that binds the church together and it is an essential element in the children’s ministry.
The Key to Success: Parental Involvement
At Charter Oak Lighthouse we believe that our children deserve the very best ministry that we can provide. That is why we encourage full parental involvement in our Children’s Ministry. It doesn’t take much to make a difference in the life of a child, the main cost is measured in time. If you are a parent who uses this ministry regularly, we appeal to you to commit some of your time toward helping this ministry. There are many ways for you to do this and in so doing you will be contributing to the overall excellence of the ministry. You can make a difference in the life of a child for both time and eternity.