The focus today is on the children who will be going back to school in a few days. We want to take some time to understand the challenges children face today. Some may not have all the essentials for being successful in school. Our hope is that we as a group can provide items to help them and encourage them to succeed.
Funny Times of School
Ask the women to recall hilarious experiences that happened to them at school. Discuss what they used to wear to school. What did their hairstyles look like? Did they bring their lunch or purchase it at the school? How do they think things have changed since they were in school? Are things easier or harder for children today? Sing a few songs from school days. Following this time of sharing, show a video of interviews with some of the school children who attend the corps and were asked what school life is like for them. What do they like or dislike about school? What is their biggest challenge?
Invite the women to bring items children need for school. These may include backpacks, theme notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, hole punches, colored pencils, staplers, glue, white–out, notebook paper, colored paper, magic markers, tissues, paper clips, hand wipes. Contact the local school for the lists of items the children need for back-to-school. These may be given to children in corps groups or local schools whose families can’t afford to provide them. The schools will probably not provide the names of the children to you (although sometime they will give you the first names). However, they can make sure the items you supply are distributed to the children.
Ask the women to write a note of encouragement for the young person who will receive the backpacks. Let them know that they have been thought of and prayed for.
Jesus Blesses the Children
Read: Luke 18:15–17.This portion of Scripture tells us that parents were bringing their children to Jesus so that He could touch them and bless them. But the disciples thought that the children were unworthy of His time and wanted to send them away. But what did Jesus do? He rebuked the disciples and called the children to come to Him. “Let the little children come to Me,” He says, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” It is important that we introduce our children to Jesus and that we ourselves approach Him with childlike attitudes.
At times we focus our attention on those who are the best looking, the smartest, and the best dressed. We get this wrong when we see our lives in relation to what the Word of God says. In this passage, Jesus clearly tells the disciples that they are not to divert the little ones away from Him. Furthermore, we are told that unless we receive the kingdom of God like a little child, we will never enter in.
In our corps worship services, there was a time when we had very few children. We prayed for the Lord to send the little ones to us. Over time we have grown to have many children attend. It is so lovely to hear them sing in the services. Their voices are so pure and their smiles radiate the love of Jesus. It is no wonder that the Lord Jesus wanted them around Him. Jesus even went a step further in that He tells us, “of such is the Kingdom of God” (NKJV). What does that mean? I believe that Jesus is telling us we all must come to Him in childlike faith. We must be willing to set aside our prior beliefs and come and rest at His feet. This is where the learning and understanding comes from. When we rest at the feet of Jesus, He renews us, He completes us, and He forgives us. He teaches us great and wonderful things that we otherwise miss.
In verse 15 Jesus tells us that, “whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” This is a powerful statement. We must accept His teaching, just like when we were in school. Today we can help our little ones to come to Jesus and live a life that leads to His great Kingdom.
Pray for the children in the corps as they go back to school and into a new grade. Ask God to bring about His will in their lives and prepare them to know Him in a personal way.