ed. note: At our most recent “Slaves at Rest,” the conversation turned to the subject of the Lord’s Table, and a pastor’s responsibilities in the ministering of the ordinance, particularly to children. I was fascinated to hear Pastors Kevin Carr and Eric Anderson discuss their thinking, and when Eric mentioned he had written a related article for his congregation, I asked him if we could publish it here so we might benefit from his study. -jr
Lifespring Church Communion Celebration
Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:17-20
Communion is a regular practice of Celebration, instituted by Jesus Christ for the encouragement, edification, anticipation and Spiritual Nourishment of true Christians in the church until heaven. (I Corinthians 11:17-34)
During Communion we eat bread and drink juice together. The bread, which is broken, symbolizes and celebrates that Christ was the sacrifice for our Sins in our place. The juice symbolizes the wrath and punishment Christ took by giving his life blood for ours. All of which satisfied the wrath and Justice of our Holy God, of whom we offended through our sinful rebellion.
Communion is a visual, communal and experiential celebration in the Good news of Christ that his death and subsequent resurrection is enough to bring us from enmity to favor with God. Only his life, death and resurrection could do this. This is the Gospel and it is truly good news. Communion is the ongoing assurance that this great salvation is real…which we take together often as a church family.
Parents, each time we take communion provides an excellent opportunity to prepare your older children to take communion if they are ready. You are the guardians of their hearts under God. It is your discernment whether your children should be taking communion. (Deut 6:4-9, Prov 22:6, principle from I Timothy 5:22)
If you are struggling with whether to let your children partake, use the ages of 11-12 as a minimum recommendation to begin. Then ask them some questions to see if they understand the gospel and if their life and passions reflect a genuine faith (as far as you can tell is evidenced at this time).
Remember, it is better to have your child wait and not partake in this Scripturally given experience if you are not ready to affirm that they have faith in Christ. This will provide a greater shepherding opportunity and well as anticipation for those young ones who may already have a genuine faith, but will be waiting to participate. If you are struggling with this, remember it is better to hold off assuring your children of a genuine faith than to give false assurance based on your desire to please them or to assure them that they are genuine Christians for your own peace of mind.
Above, all, I say with the authority of the Word of God: Trust in Christ and focus on him. This is a time for celebration that we and our salvation belong to Christ Jesus. Let this focus and guide your wise decisions regarding your children and to give charity to other families as they discern on behalf their own children.
Please do not hesitate to call me or email with any questions. I welcome the opportunities any conversations would bring.
With great anticipation, I am looking forward to partaking communion together with you.