An Explanation of Communion for Children and Families

Bellingham Covenant Church supports our parents in explaining and determining if a child is ready to participate in communion during our worship services. We do not promote or require a specific age when children can join in this personal act of faith.

The celebration of Communion, or the Lord's Table, is one of two sacraments of the Christian faith, the other being baptism. Parents are encouraged to introduce their children to the concept of Communion as the beginning of an ongoing conversation. When explaining Communion to children, it isn't necessary to give a complete and final explanation in one sitting. An understanding and appreciation of Communion will increase as they grow in their faith.

Should your child participate in communion?

  • Any child who can confidently speak about their own faith in Christ is welcome to participate in communion.
  • Children will differ in their age of self-understanding on matters of faith. Some will be aware of purposefully giving their lives to  Christ at a young age and others may not personally comprehended this reality until later.
  • It is certainly appropriate to let a child know that they are not yet old enough to participate if they have shown no signs of thinking about faith in Jesus and what this means in their own age-appropriate way.
  • But if we err, we believe we should err on the side of love and grace, especially with young children, and not turn them away from an opportunity to express their simple faith through communion.

How can you explain communion to your child?

Begin by reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 to them: "For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."

Five points to discuss regarding how to participate in communion: 

  1. We remember who Jesus IS - When we take the bread and drink from the cup we remember that Jesus is God's Son, our Savior and Lord.
  2. We remember who WE are - We sin, which means we disappoint God.  Because of this, we need forgiveness for what we have (and haven’t) done. It's appropriate to take a quiet moment and confess our sins to God and ask for His forgiveness.
  3. We remember what Jesus DID - Christ loves us so much that He died so our sin would no longer keep us from our love and service for God. Communion reminds us that Jesus gave His body (represented by the bread) and was wounded on the cross (the cup represents his blood) for our sins.
  4. We remember what Jesus DOES - If you have invited Jesus to be your Savior, He lives in you! Jesus is with you, guiding and helping you each day. Jesus is just as near and real as the bread and the cup you touch with your hands and lips.
  5. We remember that Jesus is COMING AGAIN - Jesus wants us to celebrate communion until He returns. One day He’s coming back to earth, not as a baby as he did at Christmas, but as the One who rose from the dead at Easter. We don’t know the exact time this will happen so we wait, and look forward to this each time we participate in communion.

- Adapted from a paper by Kathy Means