Story | Children on Fire for Jesus

Jesus is multigenerational; there is a place for everyone and a role for each person to play in His church. From the oldest to the youngest, we are all a part of the body and all have a contribution to make. COVID-19 has forced us to think out of the box in many areas.

One of our congregations tried something that had an impact on everyone involved, in quite an unexpected way. Due to COVID-19 restrictions our Edgemead congregation held family services on a Saturday morning, for the period where the church had to meet in smaller numbers under lockdown.

It would be good to imagine the scene; noisy children, lots of laughter, jumping up and down (sometimes from chairs) and expressive worship without singing. We could never have imagined that our services would look like this! It reminded me a bit of the church in Acts, everyone was together in one service – from the smallest baby to the oldest granny.  It was certainly louder and rowdier than what we were used to.

The intention behind our family services was inclusion, particularly of the children, in what we believe to be precious to Jesus - His church.  We have always believed, preached and trained people that we are a priesthood of believers with unique, Spirit-given gifts.  Unfortunately, we often forget that those gifts were promised to all believers, including children who receive these gifts not by some kind of baby Holy Spirit, but the same One who empowers adult believers!

During our family services the children were encouraged to participate with prayers and contributions over the microphone at the front. This has since become quite normal for them to do. It was wonderful to see how the kids’ confidence grew; how they overcame fear and shyness and made staggering contributions to our services.  One lady was so encouraged by seeing a five-year-old boy praying over the microphone, that she shared at her community group how it challenged her to trust God for more boldness.

Young girl bringing her part in the service.

As parents we desire to see our children surpass us in life. We want them to move beyond us emotionally, physically and spiritually; almost like Elijah and Elisha.  On a personal note, I can definitely attest to the fact that I would have never had the boldness to pray over a microphone as a seven year-old and certainly not in front of a large group of adults! Our Sienna, after praying over the microphone publicly one afternoon, turned to her dad and said, “Daddy, you can pray now, don’t be afraid!”


Young girl accompanied by her dad praying over the microphone

In these services we were less concerned with structure and were more caught up in focusing on the Life of God; Jesus was on the move. The fruit that became evident in the lives of the children during these family services was sweet, tasty and a testimony of lives that are rooted in Him.

As creatures of habit we love our comfort, convenience and particular ways of doing things.  As Christians we have to consistently remind ourselves that we are people of the Spirit and that we follow Jesus. Sometimes this means that Jesus will intentionally push us into a corner where we are forced to change our habits. We can so easily rely on what we know, what we are used to and what worked in the past, but Jesus causes us and our children to change. No longer do we see these young ones as future JoshGenners but rather, we are challenged by their faith, obedience and boldness to follow Jesus as active members of our normal meetings and church life.

Ilana an Wyk

Ilana an Wyk

Ilana (with an i!) van Wyk is a wife of 1 husband and mom of 2 children. She has been part of 3 congregations in JoshGen since joining the church in 2000. With 4 passions: people, good coffee, travel and true crime books, Ilana loves Christ and His Bride.

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