Children & The Lord's Supper

The Christian Reformed Church invites all baptized members to participate in the Lord's Supper in an age- and ability-appropriate manner. This represents a significant change from centuries of previous practice which tied participation in the Lord's Supper to profession of faith. After years of careful study, the synod (governing assembly) of the church in 2011 approved a number of principles; the following are some of the key points:
 
  • All baptized persons, regardless of age, are members of the church. Church membership comes not upon profession of faith but upon baptism.
  • We are invited to the table out of sheer grace as members of God’s covenant people and not because of our profession of faith or our level of comprehension.
  • When we are invited, each participant is called to age- and ability-appropriate obedience to biblical commands about participation at the Lord’s Supper.
  •  Requiring a public profession of faith before participation in the Lord’s Supper is a wise pastoral practice in some circumstances, but it is not a biblically mandated or confessionally required practice.
 
Here at First Church we have together studied this new perspective on the sacrament, and we officially began implementing the Christian Reformed Church's new practice of welcoming baptized members to the Table of the Lord beginning in December 2013.
 
The elders of the church recognize that parents serve as the covenantal heads of their households, as we confess in the Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 104:
 
What is God’s will for you in the fifth commandment? That I honor, love, and be loyal to my father and mother and all those in authority over me; that I submit myself with proper obedience to all their good teaching and discipline; and also that I be patient with their failings—for through them God chooses to rule us.
 
In keeping with this principle, the elders respect the discernment of the parents or guardians of baptized children with respect to when those children will participate in the Lord's Supper. In addition, in accordance with Reformed principles, no members who are still reflecting on and wrestling with what is a major change in practice will be compelled or pressured against their conscience in this matter. Nor may any member stand in judgment on another when their practices or convictions on this matter differ.
 
To facilitate further study, we are making the resources below available to our members.