In ministry we must be cautious to make sure we are staying true to the calling of Christ to make disciples.
When I first started out in ministry, I was passionate about sharing the Good News of Christ with every lost child.
I would create fun events, lock-ins, retreats, etc.
Throughout the past 26 years, I led hundreds of children to Christ during these events.
As I have learned more and more about discipleship through the years, I realize I was not discipling the kids who were making decisions.
I was “throwing out the baby with the bath water.”
They would move up into the student ministry ill-prepared to face the battles they encountered as teenagers.
My point here is that our priority in children’s ministry should be to make disciples.
This means putting top priority on the children in our ministry who know Christ.
If not, many will walk away from the faith because of a shallow spiritual foundation.
Bill Hull shares that conversion is not the beginning and ending of discipleship. It is the starting line for us to begin walking with Jesus.
About 15 years ago, I made this a priority in my ministry.
I set aside Wednesday evenings to disciple children in my church. I had some folks get really upset with me.
They felt like Wednesday evening should be a time of outreach to draw children into the church.
In a short time, we were reaching more children in the community with the Gospel through our kids.
We discipled them and taught them how to walk with the Lord.
They began to transform before our eyes as they learned the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Lordship to Christ daily, studying God’s Word daily, evangelism, and ministry.
We taught them how to share their faith and took them outside the church into our community.
They (our kids) led hundreds of children to Christ.
Some of the kids took the initiative to start Bible studies in their homes.
They would share the Gospel with friends at school or on the playground.
The flip side is children sitting in church doing nothing while I reach lost children around them.
Now they became the ministers they were called to be, and they became fearless to tell their friends and family members about Christ.
Do you see where I am going here?
Discipleship must be the number one priority of your church.
By prioritizing the children who know the Lord and raising them up in your church, they become true disciples of Christ and you fulfill your calling as a minister.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Evangelism is important, but evangelism without discipleship is self-defeating because we send kids into the world unprepared.
- Set aside a day. Draw a line in the sand and say this day is for the discipleship of children in your church. Lost kids can attend, but our priority is on the existing younger saints.
- Train your leaders to model their faith to their young Timothys. Small group leaders must understand that they are not just imparting wisdom; they are modeling the Christian faith to their younger brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Create a ministry environment for the kids in your church. Ministry is one of the greatest avenues of spiritual growth for children.