Children are welcome to participate in Communion when they are able to explain trust in Christ's death on the cross for forgiveness of sins and a desire/commitment to obey & follow Him. Keep in mind, a child’s explanation should not require coaching or prompting from an adult. If your child is not ready, that’s okay. We continue to teach them God’s truth and ask that it be revealed in their lives. It is important children understand the significance of salvation (repentance, trust and obedience). After all, communion is a celebration of just that! Children who are not able to articulate for themselves should let the communion elements pass them by.
Ask your children, "What does the word 'remember' mean?" Let the children respond, and then tell them that remembering is thinking about something you already knew or experienced. Ask the children to close their eyes and remember a special meal they ate. Let your kids share some of their favorite memories of special events in your life you recall with meals. (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, etc)
Before Jesus died on the cross, He gave us something to remember Him by. He knew that we would need something like that because people tend to be forgetful, even about the most important things.
He had a supper with His closest friends (His followers, also called the disciples) and while they were eating He took a loaf of bread and broke it in two. (To read about the Lord's Supper in the Bible, see Matthew 26:17-30).
Most people eat bread of some kind and so He chose this as a reminder for us. He said, "When you come together and eat together, I want this broken bread to remind you of what I have done for you." He told them that He would die for our sins. He would be beaten and treated very cruelly, taking our punishment upon Himself. His body would be broken, literally nailed to the cross. So, when we eat the broken bread, it reminds us of His broken body.
Most people drink something with dinner, and on that evening Jesus and His friends had some wine. He took a cup of wine and said, "When you drink, remember that my own blood was poured out for you. When you drink, remember that. Remember that I loved you so much that I gave up my very blood for you." That's a lot of love!!
This supper, when He said those words, became known as the "Last Supper" or the "Lord's Supper". There are other names for it too; some people call it "Communion."
We eat and drink every day, right? But as people who love Jesus and follow Him, we choose to have a special meal (it isn't really a meal is it, it is just a reminder of a meal) to do just what Jesus did: break bread to remember His broken body, and drink juice to remember His blood that was spilled for us because of our sin. At the end of the Lord's Supper we have remembered the best thing we could ever know: Jesus died for us and forgave us and loves us.
The Lord's Supper isn't something we should just do without thinking. You should think about it and what it means.
You should think about Jesus' forgiveness and ask yourself, "Am I also forgiving?" The Bible says that when you are sharing in the Lord's Supper and if you know you have been mean to someone or you are holding a grudge; if there is someone you should ask forgiveness from, then you should make up your mind right then and there to do it; and then do it!
If you are being stubborn and you are deciding just to be mad at someone, you should probably not take the Lord's Supper that day because that would be like saying, "Jesus I really want your forgiveness, but I don't want to forgive other people." Take a pass on the Lord's Supper until your heart has become soft and you make things right with the person you are at odds with.
Explain that the communion service is very special, and everyone must show respect while it's in progress. Talk about respectful behavior, and let children give ideas for what they can do during the communion service. Examples include praying, reading the Last Supper story in the Bible and singing praises if music is played.
Also discuss that the "bread" and "cup" is not candy--they are not taking it because they are hungry or will love the taste. We only do it because Jesus asked us to remember Him.
Using the following Scriptures as references, here are some questions to be used as a guideline for conversation with your kids:
How is Communion like a meal we have to celebrate our family traditions? How is it different?
(Matthew 26:17-30) What was Jesus doing? What did Jesus serve to his disciples? What did the bread and wine represent? What was he saying to the disciples?
What does taking communion remind us of?
(1 Corinthians 11:23-25) Jesus' death and resurrection
(1 Corinthians 10:17) Unity (Being together as one body of Christ – mind & spirit)
(1 Corinthians 11:16) Jesus' return – he is coming back for us!
(1 Corinthians 11:27-29) What should our attitude be like to participate in communion?
Share about your personal experience with communion… (these questions should help children understand that communion is a personal act that involves the soul rather than a ritual of habit.)
When did you ﬁrst take part in Communion? What are your memories of that time?
When did you have a special experience with Communion?
What meaning did Communion hold for you when you were young?
What meaning does the service of Communion hold for you today?
If you have any questions about the information contained, please contact Jen Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352.538.3695