What to Look For
When it comes to our own children as they think about communion, here are some important points that should be considered:
Have they given a convincing profession of faith in Jesus?
Are they showing fruit and evidence of conversion through obedience to and love for Jesus?
Do they understand and can they articulate the significance of communion?
Don’t feel you need to Rush It
We never need to rush communion for our children. It’s not magical so taking it sooner than later will not keep our kids from sin or earn them extra favor with God. The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of remembrance and requires proper understanding and meaningful spiritual reflection to hold significance. Waiting and holding off for understanding, maturity, significance, anticipation and meaningful memories can be a good thing for your child.
When the Time is Right
When wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit confirms in us that the time is right and our child is ready to participate in communion, it would be a good idea to have a conversation that covers the following topics:
What is Communion?
We can make sure they understand what communion is and what communion isn’t. We could begin with Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper in Luke 22 and talk about what Jesus was teaching when He spoke to His disciples and how we continue to remember Jesus broken body and shed blood. And we might want to take the time and explain the difference between things that are symbolic and things that are literal. We are not literally drinking Jesus’ blood and eating His body.
Why Do We Take Communion?
We can teach our child that we take communion because Jesus instructed us to and it is a way of remembering and celebrating what He did for us. 1 Corinthians 11:26 tells us that as often as we eat of the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again.
How Do We Take Communion?
We should coach our child through the logistics and the spirit of taking communion. Communion is done differently at every church, so instructing them on the way to receive the elements and the proper time to participate is helpful. Also, we can help and encourage our children to pursue the right mindset - 1 Corinthians 11 gives personal instructions for taking communion and tells a believer to “examine himself” before eating and drinking.
The decision for when our children begin to take communication is ultimately ours as parents and ours alone. We should be prayerful about it. No one knows a child better than his or her parents, and when it comes to a decision like this, we can trust the Lord’s guidance and discernment.