About the WEA Children’s Network
When some 800 evangelicals from eleven countries came together in London in 1846 to form the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), the well-being of children was one of the key concerns they sought to address. At that time, they focused on the widespread child labor in society and its tragic impact especially on poor families. Today, the WEA together with its partners are engaged in a variety of issues, ranging from discipleship and raising children in faith, to education and youth leadership, to social issues related to children-at-risk, such as domestic violence, orphans, unaccompanied minors and child trafficking, among others.
In order to step up and coordinate these efforts more comprehensively, WEA launched its Children’s Network. It will rally experts and WEA’s global constituency in more than 130 countries together by providing a platform for collaboration that aims to…
…connect global children’s ministries and Evangelical Alliances to serve local churches and families in raising children in Christ and responding to the needs of children-at-risk in their communities.
…equip Alliances, churches and families with relevant information and resources on parenting, discipleship, education, and protection of children in their homes and communities.
…speak as a representative evangelical voice to United Nations, governments and media on issues related to children, and as a prophetic voice to inspire and challenge the Church to care for children with God’s heart.
Equipping Parents and the Church
The Biblical model suggests that parents are the primary caregivers to whom God entrusted the raising of the next generation. No individual, group or institution – including the local church – can provide the same care, intimacy, inspiration and role model as the child’s parents. The Church on the other hand has a unique role to support, educate and empower parents, so they can serve as the mothers and fathers that God called them to be, amid all the spiritual, emotional and physical challenges they encounter in their parenthood. The local church also complements the parents by offering fellowship and a nurturing environment for children.
According to Scripture, it is foundational for parents to consider children as God’s blessing (Psalm 127:3) and a precious gift entrusted to their care. This is the premise for a healthy parent-child relationship. The most essential need for a child to grow well is to be loved. For a parent to love means to care and provide for the child’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs; to communicate, to understand and to raise them in the Word of God. Love is not just an emotion, it is a commitment and a decision to take responsibility for the child no matter the situation or circumstances: we are to love them just like God loves us.
Children are vulnerable and in need of protection as they grow up and learn to become independent: protection from harm and protection from people and influences that can lead them astray. This involves first and foremost prayer, but also education at home and in the church. In the case of children-at-risk, it also includes advocacy and intervention to give a voice to the voiceless and protection to those who cannot protect themselves.
Proverbs 22:6 encourages parents to “start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Parents are the primary disciplers of their children and the example they will follow. The church can help them to raise their children in the Word of God and in faith as role models who follow Jesus Christ. Children need to grow in wisdom and understanding of God’s truth, so they can learn to distinguish right from wrong, even in environments where these are blurred or turned upside down.
In order for children to ultimately stand on their own feet, they need to be empowered along the way, starting from a young age. Helping them make decisions appropriate for their age will allow them to learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their own lives. This is essential for them to become mature in their faith and in their relationship with God and with their neighbors. Empowerment of youth at home and in the church is also important to raise the next generation of Kingdom-minded Christian leaders.
The Church is called not only to care for their own but to care for all children – spiritually, emotionally and physically. In His call to live justly, God often reminds His people to care for the orphans, which are the most vulnerable of all children. Living out faith in our loving God includes reaching out to and caring for physical and spiritual orphans, giving new hope and a future to the abandoned and hopeless.