“. . . And Jesus, help us to walk more toward you every day. Amen.”
These are the last words out of my 8-year-old daughter’s mouth almost every night. And my heart melts every time.
Over the past year, Kendell had been asking if she can take communion. She has watched her older brothers and my husband and me do it since she was very little, so it didn’t surprise me that she was asking to do it too.
So for the past year or so, I had been sharing my bread and juice with her on our communion Sundays. When she started whispering to ask me if I would share with her, I’d lean over and say, “Yes, but remember, this isn’t just a snack in church. This is us remembering what Jesus did and proclaiming to those around us that we believe and want to be a part of God’s family.” As the bread and juice pass by, I’d let her take one and hold them. I could see on her face each time how special that makes her feel.
One Sunday morning before church I happened to mention it was communion Sunday, and she started asking if she could take it herself. We normally have no extra time on Sunday mornings, but this particular day, we did. So we sat down and I talked to her again about what communion means. I probably went a little overboard in trying to relay to her the significance of that little piece of bread and cup of juice. I also explained to her that at our church to do it herself she would first meet with some of the church elders and Pastor Michael.
She didn’t skip a beat with her reply, “Ok. When can they come over?”
Easter was just a month away, so we arranged for them to come before our Good Friday service so she could take communion that night. On the Monday of Easter week, they arrived at our house and we gathered around our kitchen island. They shared with Kendell what communion means to them. They shared Bible verses with her and gave her time to share with them why she wanted to participate in the Lord’s Supper. Before they left, our elder had us hold hands and pray together for Kendell and her growing love for Jesus and her desire to remember and proclaim what He did for her. I, of course, was in tears.
A few days later, on Good Friday, Kendell kept asking me questions about how to take communion. She remembered that the Good Friday service is the only time where our congregation goes forward to take communion. She had watched us do it before, but this was different. This was all her now.
As we walked into church to find our seat, she grabbed my hand and asked (for the umpteenth time) if I would walk next to her when we went forward for communion. I assured her, again, that I would. She nervously sat through the service until it was time. As Kendell and I walked toward the front of church a few minutes later, I held her hand and thought, “God is answering her prayer!” In that moment, Kendell was walking toward Jesus, and I had the privilege of holding her hand along the way.
There are lots of ways to help our kids walk more toward Jesus. Faith Formation Ministries can help you or your church think through the faith formation process of your children. Our Children’s Ministry Catalyzer, Mimi Larson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and our Regional Catalyzers, like me (email@example.com) would love to talk with you!
If you would like more information about how to welcome children to the Lord’s Table specifically, check out the Welcoming Children to the Lord’s Supper toolkit from Faith Formation ministries. It includes dozens of ideas and best practices to help jump-start your planning and dreaming.