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Communion for Kids: When Is It Appropriate for Children To Partake?

communion for kids

Communion for kids is a hot-button topic and one of the most important elements of church life. How and when is it appropriate for children to receive communion? Examine different perspectives about kids and communion.

In doctrinally serious churches, welcoming children to the Lord’s Supper is one of the most important matters of church life. It’s also one of the most difficult and widely debated.

When Is Communion for Kids Appropriate?

Some people say children should be well into adolescence before receiving the sacrament. Others want to bring children to the table at infancy or an extremely young age. In between are many churches that have confirmation classes to prepare children doctrinally. Then kids receive communion usually as preteens or young teens.

Other churches encourage parents to work closely with children. Then they can bring kids to elders to be examined for communing membership in the church.

Through the years, I’ve adopted this “parent-elder conference” approach. Every child is at a different spiritual stage. So parents should work closely with church leaders to determine when communion for kids is appropriate.

Part of the challenge? The Bible doesn’t provide an age or guideline that resolves the issue. Rather, Scripture offers general principles, which require much wisdom.

For example, the Apostle Paul — in 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 — warns church members. Each must be able to examine himself or herself prior to taking communion. At what point is a child mature enough to examine their own heart to see whether they’re discerning the body? There’s absolutely no reason to assume infants could examine themselves with any sort of conscious maturity.

This isn’t to say an infant can’t be regenerate by the Holy Spirit’s sovereign working. David, Jeremiah, and John the Baptist are examples of those regenerate from the womb (Psalm 22:9Jeremiah 1:5Luke 1:1541).

We may all agree a 3- or 4-year-old may have a sincere profession of faith in Christ (and may be savingly united to the Redeemer). But we may disagree about whether he or she is mature enough to discern the body in the Supper. We are to look for sincerity and maturity.