Next week at 10:15 church we are going to be sharing in the Lord’s Supper together. This week we are going to be sharing in this family meal with the primary school kids in church as well. This might be new to some of us so what follows are some ideas and tips to help you think about your children and the Lord’s Supper and to have a conversation with them about what will be happening.
There are four biblical meanings that the Lord’s Supper holds for Christians:
- It proclaims the gospel - “As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
- It remembers what Christ has done - “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
- It is a spiritual feasting by faith on all that God has done for us in Christ - “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35)
- It is a savouring of the promises of the New Covenant - “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25)
The Lord’s Supper is a family moment where we join together as people who profess faith in Jesus and proclaim, remember, feast and savour.
When it comes to children, every parent needs to wrestle with when it is appropriate for their child to share in the Lord’s Supper. In the Bible there is no age of accountability or other requirement that one must meet to share in the Lord’s Supper, other than being a follow of Jesus Christ.
When we share in the Lord’s Supper we invite all to share in the Lord’s Supper who:
- Trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins.
- Intend to follow him as Lord and obey his commands.
So, as we come to invite children to share in the Lord’s Supper, here are three questions that may help you to determine when you think it will be appropriate for your child to share in the Lord’s Supper:
- Have they professed faith in Jesus?
- Do they understand what the Lord’s Supper represents?
- Do they intend to live as a follower of Jesus?
Don’t Rush It
As you think about your children and whether they should share in the Lord’s Supper, I would suggest that you shouldn’t rush it. The Lord’s Supper isn’t magical so sharing in the meal sooner rather than later will not earn them any extra favour from God or keep them from sin. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of remembrance so it is right that children grasp what they are remembering, in a way that is appropriate for their age and development.
Start the Conversation
It would be great to begin a conversation with your kids as you talk with them about the Lord’s Supper. Here are some points worth discussion:
- What is the Lord’s Supper?
Make sure they understand what the Lord’s Supper is and what it isn’t. A great place to start would be with Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22. Talk about what Jesus said and how we continue to remember Jesus broken body and shed blood. Make sure that you explain that what is happening is symbolic and not literal.
- Why do we take the Lord’s Supper?
Teach your kids that we share in the Lord’s Supper because it is something that Jesus told us to do and is a way of remembering what Jesus has done.
- How we share in the Lord’s Supper?
Tell your kids about the logistics of sharing in the Lord’s Supper. Share with them that the bread and the juice will be passed around and that they should hold on to it so we can all eat and drink together. Talk with your kids about the spirit of the Lord’s Supper and that we should all examine ourselves (in an age appropriate way) before sharing in the meal. Talk with them about their faith in Jesus.
This might be something new for you and your kids and the decision about whether your children share in the Lord’s Supper is up to you. No one other that God knows your children better than you, so when it comes to a decision like this, be prayerful, ask for God’s guidance, and trust your discernment as a parent.
Cameron Harte - Children’s Minister