Welcoming Children into the Family of God

by Joel Comiskey

As I travel around the country, I rejoice to hear stories of children following Jesus because of the godly example of their parents. Pastors and leaders agree that the parents first ministry is their children. Paul tells parents to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). There’s one huge problem. What about the children who don’t have godly parents? How will they find Jesus?

The answer is that God has established the church to be an alternative family. The church also has brothers, sisters, and spiritual parents (1 John 2:12-14). Paul says in Ephesians,”For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14-15). Earlier in Ephesians, Paul talks about the church as “God’s household” (2:19).

The early church understood their role in ministering to the children. Some of the early historical writings about the ministry of house churches declare that these house churches “welcomed ragamuffin children” and as an extended family evangelized, taught, and cared for the neglected and orphaned children (A Women’s Place: House Churches In Earliest Christianity, pp. 76-78, kindle edition).

In the cell church today, many non-Christian children will chiefly be discipled in the household of God, the church of the living God. Intergenerational cell groups, after-school cell groups, children’s church on Sunday will all contribute to the team effort in reaching out to children and welcoming them as part of God’s family. In this sense, the church today is an extended family, just like the primitive church of the New Testament period.

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Joel

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Recibiendo a los niños dentro de la familia de Dios

Por Joel Comiskey

En mis viajes por el país, me alegro de escuchar historias de niños que siguen a Cristo por el ejemplo piadoso de sus padres. Pastores y líderes están de acuerdo en que el primer ministerio de los padres son sus hijos. Pablo dice a los padres “edúcalos en disciplina e instrucción del Señor” (Efesios 6:4). Hay un gran problema. ¿Qué pasa con los niños que no tienen padres temerosos de Dios? ¿Cómo van a encontrar a Cristo?

La respuesta es que Dios ha establecido que la iglesia sea una familia alternativa. La iglesia también tiene hermanos, hermanas y padres espirituales (1 Juan 2:12-14). Pablo dice en Efesios: “Por esta causa doblo mis rodillas ante el Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, de quien toma nombre toda familia en los cielos y en la tierra” (Efesios 3:14-15). Antes, en Efesios, Pablo habla de la Iglesia como “casa de Dios” (2:19).

La iglesia primitiva entendió su papel en el ministerio a los niños. Algunos de los primeros escritos históricos sobre el ministerio de iglesias en las casas declaran que estas casas/iglesias “, daban la bienvenida a los niños pordioseros” y como una gran familia evangelizaban, enseñaban y cuidaban de los niños abandonados y huérfanos (el Lugar de Mujer: casas/iglesias en el cristianismo primitivo, pp 76-78, Edición Kindle).

En la iglesia celular hoy en día, principalmente muchos niños no cristianos, son discipulados en la casa de Dios, la iglesia del Dios viviente. Grupos intergeneracionales de células, grupos celulares después de la escuela, y la iglesia de niños el domingo, contribuirán al esfuerzo del equipo para llegar a los niños y darles la bienvenida como parte de la familia de Dios. En este sentido, la iglesia de hoy es una gran familia, al igual que la iglesia primitiva del período del Nuevo Testamento.

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Joel

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Joel Comiskey
Joel Comiskey (Ph.D. Fuller Seminary) is an internationally recognized cell church coach and consultant. He has served as a missionary with the C&MA in Quito, Ecuador and is now founding pastor of a cell-based church in Southern California. Joel has written best selling books on the worldwide cell group movement. He teaches as an adjunct professor at several theological seminaries. Joel Comiskey Group is a tax exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to helping complete the Great Commission in this century by providing resources and coaching to plant new cell churches and transition existing churches to cell-based ministry. For further reading on this topic, see Comiskey's books Making Cell Groups Work Navigation Guide and Home Cell Group Explosion.