Recently, we visited our daughter’s Vineyard church in Grand Rapids, a church that’s stepping out in the gifts of the spirit and finding blessing in the process. We were intrigued that the pastor is also empowering the children to minister in the service. No, I don’t think it was “Kids Sunday.” I think this is an intentional move to train the children early that they are an important part of the body and have much to offer.
Here’s how they involved the children in three ways. First, two children led the scripture reading and involved the congregation with responses written on the screen. Then they had communion with about half a dozen children picking up a cup and small roll and moving about the congregation serving us as we partook by pulling off a bit of bread and dipping it into the cup. Finally, at the end of the service, the prayer team came up front to pray for people and any children who wanted to join them in praying were invited as well. I needed prayer for an issue and felt the Lord wanted me to ask a couple of children to pray for me. Their mother was with them (as it should be) while her children prayed the sweetest prayer with such boldness and confidence. Their child-like prayers brought tears to my eyes.
Then an interesting thing happened. Bill and I both felt we had prophetic words for one of the children, a girl about 10 or 11 years old. We told her that we felt God was developing her into a leader and that He would continue to give her confidence to step out in ministry, that God had special plans for her in leadership and that He would use her gifts in the church. Bill told her he sensed a special anointing on her to speak into other’s lives, to call forth what God had put in them.
At that point, her mother became very excited and told us that she and her husband have been training their children in the gifts of the Spirit and that they had been praying that someone would bring a prophetic word to their daughter. And there we were. God had sent us to that particular child because He knew that she needed encouragement to step out in faith. Her mother was so grateful that we had stepped forward with a word in season.
With that, I felt strongly that the Lord wanted me to give her one of my books, “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening.” It could be another tool for this family as they sought to hear God’s voice.
Can you see how gratifying it is to be used by God in people’s lives, all by partnering with God, listening for His voice and allowing and using our gifts to build up the body of Christ.
Let’s be a people tuned in to God so that when He sees someone needs a word of encouragement or comfort, we will be available for His use. All glory to God.
1Corinthians 14:3, “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”