What Is Communion?
Here is the short answer: Communion is a symbolic meal of bread and wine (in our case, grape juice) that Jesus established for His followers to observe in remembrance of Him.
The Apostle Paul describes the scene in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV):
“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 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 this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
Whether churches use the term The Lord’s Supper, Holy Eucharist or Communion, this symbolic meal remains a part of regular worship around the world. Some churches serve communion each week, others just a few times a year. At Keystone, we celebrate communion once a month, typically on the last Sunday of the month during each of our three worship experiences.
Who Can Take Communion?
When Jesus established this ritual, He did so for His followers to remember His sacrifice and proclaim that He is Christ, our Savior. The only people who would make this proclamation are those who have placed their faith and trust in Christ. So, this is an activity reserved for those who confess Christ as their Savior.
What If I’m Not A Confessing Christian?
On any given Sunday when we are serving communion we know and expect that there are people in our worship experiences who do not confess faith in Christ, do not consider themselves Christian or are just checking out what Christianity might mean to them. We don’t want anyone to feel awkward, but we also admit that some of the things we do during worship can be a bit awkward to a newcomer or non-believer. We sing songs to God and about Jesus. We pray to God in the name of Jesus. We preach from an ancient document that we believe are the words of God for us, even today. All of that is a bit unusual for the uninitiated. We get that!
Communion is just another one of those things we Christians do, and if you are with us at a time we serve communion and are not a confessing Christian, we ask that you allow others to participate around you. One of our pastors will lead the communion time and let everyone know that not everybody in the room is a believer and that we fully expect that some will not join us in this meal. We won’t judge you or look at you funny. You are one of the reasons we exist as a church, and we are thrilled you are in church with us.
At Keystone, we serve communion at the front of our stage, so people come up and receive a small piece of bread and a cup of juice and return to their seats until everyone participating has received their portion. Then we consume the “meal” together and close with prayer. If you are not joining us in communion, allow people to pass by you and use the time as a moment of reflection and observation.
Can My Kids Receive Communion?
At Keystone, we allow parents to decide how and when their children receive communion. When I (Pastor Ken) was a child, my parents encouraged me to participate in communion even though I had yet to confess my faith in Christ or be baptized. I understood that this wasn’t just a snack time in the middle of worship but a moment of remembering what Jesus had done for us. Did I fully understand it? Nope. But it was a way for my parents to develop my understanding. If that is what you want for your child, feel free to have them join us.
When my wife and I had our three boys, we took a different approach. We waited until they had expressed their faith in Christ for them to receive communion for the first time. We wanted to be sure that they understood what Jesus had done for them so they could genuinely remember Him during communion. They would often walk up and observe what was happening; however, they didn’t receive communion until we felt they were ready. That is an option for you to choose as well. Just have them walk up with you and observe what is happening, so when they are ready they will have an understanding of how things go.
Since our children’s ministry programming runs concurrently with our adult worship “Big Church” experiences, your kids are not typically present when we share in communion. However, there are some Sundays when we have family worship and the kids are with us, so we want you to be prepared and know that we look to you to decide and direct your child if they will be participating in communion or not.