Ministry Among Children (Abraham Thomas, Kochi): Children happen to be a minority in this adult-centered world. Consequently, most of us give only a minor portion of our time or resources for ministry among children.
However, the great preacher DL Moody showed the correct perspective when he returned a certain day from preaching. Someone asked him how many souls he led to the Lord and he said three-and-a-half. The listener concluded that meant three adults and one child, but he was wrong. Moody said that was three children and one adult. And he explained that the adult is to be counted as only half because only that much of his life was now left for the Lord, whereas the children had their entire life still left to be of some value to God.
It is with this perspective that we should look at ministry aimed at the Indian Children. India has in excess of 400 million children, a number larger than what the total Indian population used to be in our childhood. And they are going to decide the direction and pace of the country, for tomorrow they shall manage our offices, hospitals, government agencies, business houses, and even the government.
What is more, tomorrow it is they who will oversee and lead our assembly, and it is they who shall decide the course of Christian faith in their generation. If they do things properly, the society and the church shall be blessed. Evil will be controlled, and good will be promoted. But if they have to do things right at that time, they need to be led into the right path at this time. Thus the evangelization of Indian children assumes all the more importance. A few things should be notice about all this:
Even if all the evangelists in India were to concentrate their energies on children alone, they would not be able to reach the 400 million Indian children in a century. Thus we need a large number of volunteers who can work among children, right from the security of their homes.
Evangelizing children is not a childish affair. A fool can miscommunicate with any child, but it takes a lot of wisdom to communicate in the right manner so as to win their hearts for all eternity.
We need to encourage the best among us, men and women, young and old, free and occupied ones to give attention to children. Each one of us has hundreds of unreached children in our neighborhood. They can be brought into our homes through children’s clubs and the so-called moral-education classes.
SBS India is always interested in guiding people who are ready to do this. Suviseshakan Bala Sangham was established half a century ago, mainly to take the gospel to children. And today SBS India is reaching an increasing number of Indian children through volunteers. The work has been intensified in the last one decade, and today thousands of brothers and sisters around the country join to conduct VBS programs.
Teaching materials and supporting resources are either already published, or are being translated into, more than ten languages. Brothers and sisters from more than 20 Indian states were trained recently to train people in their own native language and culture. This will result in a larger number of trainee manpower. Yet it is only a drop in the ocean.
Today every powerful movement is aiming at capturing the minds of children. The audiovisual media and TV are targeting children. The consumer industry is trying to enslave their minds. Even many of the political movements [such as the communists in Kerala] are producing attractive periodicals for winning children. If we do not act, they will win. They will win even if we act, but we will have the satisfaction of winning over tens of thousands of children to Christ who would otherwise have fallen for various other movements.
Kindly take a little time to think about what you have done so far for the Indian children, and what you ought to do now. Perhaps you are stationed in a country other than India and it is not possible for you to come to India and share the gospel with the children. But this should not prevent you from the task. You can join hands with SBS India to fulfill the vision. You can pray for SBS, you can encourage volunteers to work for VBS, you can support SBS, and you can encourage brethren in your church to support SBS. Get the latest news-bulletin and pray. Pass it on to others and encourage them to pray.
Create awareness. And do make it a point to invest in the live of at least one child per day. It is only a small thing to do, seeing what the Lord has given you. Remember, you were also a child one day. Some people known to you or unknown made an investment in your life. They led you to Christ. They taught you in Sunday School. They nurtured you. Now is the time to return the debt by making an investment for the eternity of the Indian children.
[Abraham Thomas, based in Kochi, is the General Secretary of SBS India. The latest information about SBS is posted at www.SBSIndia.Org by the Media Department. Abraham Thomas can be contacted at AT-Kochi@ETH.Net]