Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can My Child Take Communion?

Communion is an act in which we remember Jesus’ perfect life and sinless body (represented by unleavened bread) and His redemptive sacrifice and blood that paid the price for our sins (represented by grape juice or wine). Jesus gives this ordinance to His disciples (Luke 22:19-20), as a way to remember what He did for us. We should only participate in Communion if we believe and admit that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for our sin. Once we personally and publicly identify with Christ in both His death and resurrection, we are part of the family of faith and welcome to partake in the Lord’s Supper. (See our website for our position paper on this and other topics.)

At Grace Church, we typically partake in Communion (also called the Lord’s Supper) on the first full weekend each month. Additionally, we will be having a Good Friday worship service this year which will include Communion, as we did last year. Based on questions we received last year, we want to give direction to parents who will be bringing their young children to the Good Friday service.  As a parent who is the God-given authority for you child, it is your role to determine if your child is able to take Communion. If you are not sure (as best you can discern through prayer and godly counsel), if your child is a true believer in and follower of Jesus Christ, you should not allow him or her to partake in the Lord’s Supper. If your child is a believer, then we welcome him to join us in Communion.  And if he or she has not been baptized as a believer, then you should consider baptism as a next step, maybe even before they take Communion. See our page about baptism for what this process looks like.

As a personal example, our daughter, Hannah (who, as best we can tell, is a follower of Christ and professed this by mouth and by baptism in November 2008), regularly takes Communion with us. Our son Elijah has not take the same steps as Hannah, and we are still discerning the work of the Spirit in his life. He sat with us during last year’s Good Friday service, but we did not allow him to take Communion. This was a struggle and brought tension for him, and probably will this year. But in that tension, our goal is to shepherd him towards the struggle to die to himself and live a Spirit-empowered life for Christ.

If you have questions about whether your child is a true believer, the best thing you can do is seek counsel from your Community Group leader, a pastor, or a respected God-fearing parent who has been through this season. Here are a few starting points that may help guide you in determining whether your child is a true believer or not:
  1. Is your child characterized by knowledge of the gospel message, unsolicited repentance for sin, and an indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in his life?
  2. Here is a blog post to a similar question from last March.
  3. In April 2008, we had a parental equipping event called “Shepherding Your Child Through Salvation and Baptism.” We encourage you to listen to the audio, and the follow-up discussion questions.

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