Kids and Communion
At the Journey, we encourage kids to join us in the worship services. On the first Sunday of the month, we take communion together. What should kids do during communion? When are kids ready to take communion?
Communion is a special moment in the life of the church. It is our covenant meal together, when we celebrate the body and blood of Jesus given for our sins. It expresses our unity in Christ, because it’s not our life phase, ethnicity, hobbies, social class, or any other outward characteristic that unites us: it’s Jesus and Jesus alone.
At the Journey, we welcome anyone who is a believer in Jesus as Lord and Savior to participate in communion with us. If you are a believer, then you are part of our broader church family. Thus, if you’re with us on a communion Sunday, you can express your unity in Christ with us by taking communion after examining yourself. If you are walking in an unrepentant manner contrary to the gospel you profess, then you should not take communion. Also, if you are in an unreconciled conflict with another believer, it’s best to seek reconciliation and unity before taking communion.
There are many church traditions that require someone to be baptized before taking communion. The logic for this is in the correlations between OT circumcision/NT baptism and also OT Passover/NT communion. Circumcision was the entry point into the community and the covenant sign. In order to take the Passover meal, a male had to be circumcised. One needed the covenant mark to take the covenant meal. Thus, many Christians today believe that one must be baptized, as the covenant mark, and only then participate in communion, the covenant meal.
The New Testament never definitively states that one must be baptized before taking communion, and that’s why there are differing opinions on the matter.
I’m not necessarily trying to persuade you to adopt a certain view on communion and its relationship with baptism. My goal is this: wherever you land for your kids on communion, take it seriously. It is a big deal. Kids shouldn’t be coming up to take it if they have no idea what is going on or as a ritual that they don’t understand.
The Bible clearly calls us to examine ourselves before taking communion: “27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). If a child is unable to examine themselves and their faith, should they take communion? Based on those verses, they should not.
I have wrestled with how to handle this with my kids. I think they truly believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, but I think it’s wise for them to be older to be baptized (see my other post on that topic). My oldest (age 11) may be ready soon! Because Michelle and I see communion naturally following baptism from the arguments above, we are having our kids wait to take communion, and we have explained that to them. It will be so meaningful when they are baptized and then take communion with us, Lord willing!
Parents, we take communion on the first Sunday of the month in our worship services. We love having kids in the service! Before our next communion service, I would encourage you to talk with your kids. Decide what your view is. Explain to them either why you do not want them to take it, or why they can. You are the primary disciplers of your children, so you need to lead them well on this matter. Help them understand the glory of the gospel and the significance of our covenant meal together. If you need any help discerning if they’re ready, reach out to me and I can give you some questions to ask.