Christ’s mandate to feed the lambs (John 21:5) and to let the children come to Him (Mark 10:13, 14) commissions the Church to evangelize children and to nurture their spiritual growth toward a lifelong relationship with God and with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The childhood years provide an unequaled opportunity to bring children to Jesus while they are most open to the gospel. These years also provide the foundation for Christian character development. “Too much importance cannot be placed upon early training of children. The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and the childhood, have more to do with the formation of the character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of after years.”
Every adult in the church has the privilege and responsibility to model Christ’s love and care and to assist children in building a meaningful foundation for a Seventh-day Adventist Christian viewpoint throughout life.
The Department of Children’s Ministries has adopted a list of objectives to promote the spiritual, emotional, and intellectual development of children within the church community. Some of these are:
- To conceptualize for the Church the theology and methodology of letting the children come to Christ.
- To educate leaders and church members to recognize the importance of the early years of life when the mind and heart are most open to the Gospel, and to teach them how to win the affection of children in order to draw them to Christ and the Church.
- To encourage the inclusion of children in all programmes and activities of the church.
- To prepare materials that teach parents, teachers, and pastors how to engage children in meaningful Bible learning to equip them to make thoughtful, Spirit-guided decisions now and in future years.