Saturday, March 19, 2016

Why I explain communion to my daughter and every church family should do the same

At my current church, when we have communion, I make a point to go down the front with my eldest daughter, personally give her the bread, and tell her that this reminds us that Jesus loves us.

Sure, communion is more than just that, but it's enough for a four-year-old to start to understand.

I do this because the research suggests that young people stay connected in the church if they are included in what's going on, understand what's happening and witness the significant adults in their both life living out their faith and practicing their faith traditions.

At my various churches, with a varied level of success, I've always tried to regularly allow children to be able to participate in communion, especially as a family unit. Better yet, I've personally tried (as I wrote about here) to help the youngsters understand what's actually going on.

I wonder, how many churches intentionally make room for this?
I wonder, how many churches actively encourage parents too explain what's going on in church?
I wonder, how many parents would be able to, quite simplistically, explain something like communion, baptism or prayer?
I wonder, how many parents, if asked by their children what's going on during church, would respond with a "shh, be quiet!" not a gentle explaining answer?

If it's true, and I firmly think it is, that children stick around, both at their faith and in church, when older people - especially parents - show and include them in things like communion, if the church is not doing a disservice to the entire family if they don't intentionally nurture these faith-forming discussions.

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