Children and the Holy Spirit (Part 1)
One day as I was driving through Indiana with a friend, that friend commented about the row after row of corn and wheat in the huge harvest fields of the Midwest. To me, having grown up in the Midwest, seeing those endless fields was a common sight. These fields reminded me that farmers have long since learned the formula of “what you sow is what you’ll reap.”
Pass it On
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a major part of our Pentecostal heritage. It was the foundation on which the Assemblies of God was founded. Yet, I fear that this next generation is losing out because the Holy Spirit is taking a backseat in many children’s ministries. If this next generation is to be Pentecostal, then we, as leaders, need to teach them and make sure this heritage is passed on.
I’m challenging all of you, as leaders in children’s ministry, to make the Holy Spirit a part of your teaching and a part of your services. Allow the Holy Spirit to move. Allow time for children to be filled. Encourage them to pray in tongues and to be used in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We MUST be committed to passing on to the next generation the heritage of the Holy Spirit. It is our responsibility.
Plant the Seeds
On that note, let me encourage you as children’s leaders to plant the seeds of hunger for the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the hearts of your children. I know that in every service or class you teach, children hear the message of salvation and are given the opportunity to respond. But do they hear about the great gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that God has for each of them? Do they hear that this gift will give them the boldness to stand up for Jesus? Do they hear about speaking in tongues, which will help them as they pray?
It's easy to bypass this special gift from God with the day-to-day preparations of lessons for your children. But let me encourage you by saying I have found that when you regularly give the children a taste of the Holy Spirit when you teach, they will build up a desire to be filled. That desire will become something they fervently pray about. Those fervent prayers will be answered by God as He baptizes your children in the Holy Spirit.
Let me tell you about Judy, the sixth-grade boys’ Sunday School teacher at a church I used to attend. Judy purposed in her heart to see every one of her sixth-grade boys filled with the Holy Spirit by the time they left her class. Year after year, class after class, sixth grade boys were being filled with the Holy Spirit. Some of them were filled in her classroom. Others were filled in children’s church or in the adult sanctuary on a Sunday night. As she prayed and planted the seeds, God gave the harvest.
How do you plant the seeds of hunger for the Holy Spirit in children? Here are some suggestions:
- Teach the children that the Holy Spirit is God, that He is the third member of the trinity, and that He has a purpose and a job to do.
- Tell them the Holy Spirit is given to us as a gift to give us power to live for God and to be witnesses (Acts 1:4,8).
- Inform them that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence that you have been filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4.)
- Utilize tongues as a prayer language during times of prayer. Explain to the children that God understands our prayer language (1 Corinthians 14:2), and that He directs us to pray in tongues when we don’t know how to pray. A good verse to use at this time is Romans 8:26, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
- Answer children’s questions as they come. They will ask about how they can learn to speak in tongues. You can explain to them that it happens when they receive this gift God has for them.
Publishers Note: Consider the All Church Campaign Who is the Holy Spirit
which includes the League of Investigators Curriculum
or the Faith Case