In Mark 10:13-16, we see Jesus hanging out with His disciples… Many parents took the opportunity to bring their children to Him so He would bless them & hold them. His well meaning disciples saw what was happening & decided that they needed to stop the parents from approaching Jesus with their kids because Jesus was OBVIOUSLY busy & OBVIOUSLY had more important things to do than spend His time interacting with children.
Except that isn’t how Jesus saw it – He got indignant & rebuked His disciples – Jesus told them to knock it off, saying, “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 then Jesus took the children in His arms, & blessed them, laying His hands upon them. To the disciples, the kids were a nuisance, a hindrance to important things & people that Jesus could be doing & seeing. To Christ, kids were invaluable, & modeled how God would have us receive & come to Him.
Throughout the Bible, God’s people are instructed to intentionally take time to pass on to the next generation the goodness of God, the fulfillment of His promises, the understanding of His ways, & the love for Him & His words. (See Deuteronomy 4:1-10, Psalm 71:17-21 & Proverbs 22:6 for a few examples.) On top of this, current research shows that about 75% of people who come to know Christ do so before their 18th birthdays.
At Hillside, one of our core values is prioritizing our “next generation” – the babies, kids, youth, & young adults – &, accordingly, we want to intentionally, creatively, & strategically give of our time, resources, & energy to help our next generation become fully devoted followers of Christ.