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Communion, Kids, & Small Group

Should kids be able to take communion? I am sure a lot of profound stuff has been written about this over the last couple thousand years. What has been written and said? I am not sure. But my wife thinks we should include the children, so that sounds good to me. (She’s close to God, extremely intelligent, and also a seminary student.)

I thought I’d talk to the kids and teens in our group ahead of time and get their preferences. So before small group started I went down in the basement (where they had all headed) and ask which of them wanted to participate in communion. The three teen girls there at that time all wanted to. But an 8-year old girl said, “I’ve taken it before and I don’t want to again.” The other grade school kids sided with her. Another teen girl and an 11-year old boy arrived a little later and they both decided to also take communion.

We started with all the adults, kids and teens together in the family room doing our icebreaker and two worship songs. Then we all talked about what baptism and communion mean. Following that I dismissed the kids that wanted to leave to go play in the basement.

Communion was cool. First we took time to let God examine our hearts and to bring anything we needed to him. Then we passed the homemade bread to each other saying, “The body of Christ was broken for you.” Each person broke off a piece. Then we passed the cup of juice saying “the blood of Christ was shed for you” to the person next to us. As we did, that person would dip their piece of bread in the juice and then eat it. (During this time the three kids in the basement were getting kind of loud so someone went and ask them to be quieter.) Immediately following the passing of the bread and cup, we prayed and were quiet and listened for words from God. People shared. Then the four teen girls headed to the living room to pray for each other, the women stayed in the family room for ministry time, and the men and the 11-year old boy went to the dining room to pray. Everyone joined together later for snacks in the kitchen.

What thoughts, advice or questions do you have for kids and communion or about celebrating communion in small group?

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4 Responses to Communion, Kids, & Small Group

  1. Sara March 25, 2008 at 10:08 am #

    I think the matter of kids and communion differs from child to child. If the child has made the choice to follow Jesus, then I think it’s up to the child and the parents. I know people who feel kids don’t know enough or understand enough to commit their life to Jesus, let alone understand the mysteries of communion. And I think I can understand where those people are coming from. But where do we draw the line? Age 10? Age 16? I know kids who exhibit more faith than many adult Christians I know!! And I know teens who exhibit more maturity than 40 year olds. I know God loves children and their hearts. He says that in his Word. I don’t think God compares us as we come to him in prayer, in baptism, or in communion. I think he looks at our hearts and our sincerity, no matter what our age or maturity level. 🙂

  2. Anonymous March 26, 2008 at 10:48 am #

    This is a tough subject, for sure.  In my childhood church background there was a specific age placed on when your first communion would take place.  But, looking back I had NO idea what communion met even after attending the necessary “teachings” to attend the ceremony.  But who has the right to place a proper time for all people to take communion?  I think it should be an individul decision, as Sara stated.  My son, who is 6, is very aware of God’s presence in his life and knows Jesus is ways that blow my mind.  God speaks to me through him regularly.  In our small group we did communion last week and my son was there with us as he was on Spring Break.  We spoke with him about what communion is and he wanted to participate, so we let him.  Has he made the public declaration to follow Jesus, well no.  But we know that he is walking with Jesus daily, in school, at home and out and about…..Kudos to you, Jim, on allowing the children to decide.  I think that is how it should be done…..

  3. David Kueker March 26, 2008 at 1:01 am #

    The concern for who should be allowed to take communion is usually based on a person’s interpretation of 1 Cor 11:27-31:  27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28  Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29  For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 30  That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31  But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged.The focus of these verses is on what it means to “eat or dring without discerning the body” and the feeling that people should be protected from doing themselves harm. Traditionally the interpretation is that “being worthy” means understanding the “correct doctrine” – i.e. the doctrine of our denomination – and so nonmembers and children are excluded for their own protection because they can’t possibly understand communion the “right” way. Discerning the body in this tradition means discerning the bread in the “proper” way as “this is my body, broken for you.”Two other interpretations are possible but aren’t common. First is that for the person with inadequate faith, the bread remains just bread and the juice remains just juice. This interpretation would fit with the concept that God would do no harm to children, and one doesn’t need to enter into the debate of how old a child has to be before they can have an authentic faith – which is another logical problem since Jesus said we needed to repent and become more like children.Another interpretation is based on the sense that when Paul speaks of the “body” in 1 Corinthians, he is talking about the “body of Christ” rather than the bread used for communion. It is obvious in the sin he confronts in the context of 1 Cor 11:17-22. It is this context that directly precedes and directly leads to Paul’s correction of how communion is to be received. The sin of not discerning the body in v. 17-22 can be understood as the sin of not discerning that others present are precious, are part of you, part of the body of Christ, breaking the commandment of John 13:34, 1 John 4:7-8, and leading right up to 1 Corinthians 13, etc. As Paul says in 1 Cor 11:22:  “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.”It is this rude sin that may be the unworthiness that they bring to the table of the Lord – and this interpretation would then warn us not to similarly ignore the spiritual needs of children among us.Each one of us, of course, needs to prayerfully consider what these verses mean with the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our situation. I find these other two interpretations helpful to me in my congregation.

  4. kirsten wallace March 26, 2008 at 5:34 am #

    I think it is OK for children to take communion if they realize what Jesus has done for them on the cross.  My 4 kids gave their lives to Jesus at very young ages and understood in simple faith……so we let them start taking communion then.  i agree with the one guy that the body mentioned could very well mean the Body of Christ (us believers).  It is so very important to love our brothers and sisters in Christ no matter what church they go to.

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