As anyone that’s been a parent knows, it’s hard work and a great responsibility. There’s even an increased responsibility for Christian parents to raise their children in the fear and discipline of the Lord, with the goal that, by God’s grace, they will profess the faith with their own mouths. Every Christian parent desires this, and so do we at WRC. The question becomes, “How shall we nurture children in the Christian faith?” Scripture informs our answer in two key ways: first, by the nature of God’s covenant, and, second, by the nature of Sunday worship.
The Lord is a covenant-making and covenant-keeping God. He even distinguishes His people from the rest of the world by means of covenant. He established a formal covenant with Abraham and his household, which set them apart from all other peoples (Gen. 15 & 17). After the Passover, He turned the Abrahamic people into a nation-state, called Israel. This, too, was accomplished by way of covenant (Exod. 19-24; Deuteronomy). On the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of Jesus, the new covenant was inaugurated. Once again, God distinguished His people from the world by means of covenant.
The reason this informs our view of children is that God has always incorporated the children of believers into His covenant people. Although young children are unable to express personal faith, God graciously includes them. Throughout the Old Testament, under the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, God promised believers and their children, “I will be your God, and you will be my people.” Under the new covenant, we see the same household principle expressed, as the Apostles and other ministers baptized households when parents professed faith. At Pentecost, Peter told his Jewish audience that forgiveness and the promised Spirit are “for you and for your children.” Therefore, the children of believers are members of the covenant; they are members of the church.
Participating in a church service is the primary way this covenant membership is exercised. It’s also the primary way by which Jesus feeds your child’s soul and brings him or her to a mature profession of faith. Our children are church members prior to their own faith, but they must make profession of faith later, when they develop the maturity to do so. Hearing preaching is God’s primary way of bringing your child to faith, and participating in the rest of the service nurtures that faith.
But we also recognize that many parents and children are not ready for this step. Therefore, we offer two services for you and your children. For those that are around five years old and under, we provide nursery care that you are welcome to use. Our service is also being live-streamed to a TV in our “cry room”, where moms can take children that are restless or need to be fed. Our hope is that, over time, these covenant children can be introduced into the worship of God’s covenant people and participate insofar as their maturity allows.