The Church of the Nazarene’s Manual Statement on
the value of CHILDREN & YOUTH
The Bible commands every Christian to, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute” (Proverbs 31:8). The Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-7; 11:19) admonishes us to communicate God’s grace to our children. Psalm 78:4 declares, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” Jesus affirms this in Luke 18:16, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
As a response to this biblical perspective, the Church of the Nazarene acknowledges that children are important to God and a priority in His kingdom. We believe God directed us to attend to all children—to love, nurture, protect, uphold, guide, and advocate for them. It is God’s plan that we introduce children to the life of salvation and growth in grace. Salvation, holi- ness, and discipleship are possible and imperative in the lives of children. We recognize that children are not a means to an end, but full participants in the Body of Christ. Children are dis- ciples in training, not disciples in waiting.
Thus, holistic and transforma- tional ministry to children and their families in every local church will be a prior- ity as evidenced by:
• providing effective and empowering ministries to the whole child—physically, men-
tally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually;
• articulating Christian positions on current social justice issues that affect children;
• connecting children to the heart of the mission and minis- try of the faith community;
• discipling children and training them to disciple others;
• equipping parents to nurture the spiritual formation of their children.
… The Church of the Nazarene envisions an intergenera- tional faith community where children and youth are loved and valued, where they are ministered to and incorporated into the Church family through a wide variety of means and methods, and where they have opportunities to minister to others in ways consistent with their ages, development, abilities, and spiritual gifts. n
Taken from “903.19. Value of Children and Youth” in the Manual, 2009- 2013, Church of the Nazarene.
A BROKEN WORLD FOR CHILDREN
• Every day, 28,000 children die from poverty- related causes.
• 115 million children are not in school—56 percent of them are girls, and 94 percent of them live in developing countries.
• 133 million young people cannot read or write.
• Two-thirds of the world’s illiterate people are female.
• 48 countries had mortality rates greater than 1 in 10 childbirths, compared to 1 in 143 in developed countries.
• 70 percent of deaths before age five are caused by diseases, or a combination of disease and malnutrition, that would be preventable in developed countries.
• Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-19 in developing countries.
• 2 million children die every year from infections spread by dirty water or the lack of toilets.
Excerpts taken from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) website, www.unicef.org
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