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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Children and the Gospel

By L. John Bueno
Feb. 20, 2011

You can’t read through the New Testament without noticing Jesus’ love for children. Yet it seems as if adults have a tendency to underestimate or ignore children’s value. In many cultures, children are not regarded with great importance. Even reports of people who accept Christ are couched in terms such as, “We had 75 accept Christ, without counting the children.” Children aren’t counted because many feel they are incapable of making a spiritual decision.

But Jesus included all people. He showed His disciples how much He treasured children and valued the boys and girls who came to Him for His blessing. I am convinced that some of His greatest earthly experiences were when He took the children in His arms and blessed them (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17).

I’ve often wondered about the long-range effects of the blessings Jesus spoke over those boys and girls. Those children probably became part of the Early Church and were used of God to shake an empire and take the gospel to other parts of the world. The Gospels’ many references and admonitions relating to the value of children reinforce the need to prepare the next generation to reach the world for Christ.

In my many years of working with children in Latin America, I have discovered how easy it is to share Jesus with preschool or elementary-age children. Their hearts are open, and they receive the Word of God in an innocent and sincere way. By the time these same children are in high school, the task is much more difficult. Their spiritual receptivity is even less when they reach college and adult life.

Jesus has asked the Church to value children and develop an intentional ministry to reach them with His Word. The populations of most countries are amazingly young. We have both the challenge and the opportunity to reach them when they are still tender and innocent and receptive to the Word of God. The ministry of OneHope values children and is passionately focused on reaching them with the Word of God.

Reaching children and young people will reap great rewards not only for today, but also as future generations commit themselves to the cause of Jesus Christ. I have seen the effectiveness of these ministries repeatedly. By obeying Jesus’ model and reaching children in their tender years, they will continue to make a lasting difference in our world, both right now and in the future.

L. JOHN BUENO is executive director for Assemblies of God World Missions.

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