I was at lunch one day with one of our worship pastors from my church, and he said, "Ministry would be great if you didn't have to work with adults." That caught me completely off guard. We both laughed together, and that was about it. Have you ever felt that way? I love hanging out with children in my church because they are always fun, trusting, and ready to help out. They want to serve. I have served on staff at five different churches, and each church had leadership voids. Many times, I would get upset with adults because of their lack of interest in serving in the children's ministry. Then one day, it hit me. The problem isn't with parents and adults; the question is how we are doing church. It's called the 20-80 Rule: 20 percent of the church do all of the ministry, while 80 percent are spectators and recipients. Sadly, this is the case in most churches. How can this be? We know that every believer in Christ receives the Holy Spirit at the new birth, and they receive spiritual gifts from the Spirit. Think about this for a moment. If a child sits and listens for 18 years of their life, this becomes their perception of the church. Sadly, the majority of adults do not know that they even have gifts to use in the church. Enough with the negative stuff!
We were asked one day at our staff meeting what day of the week was the most important to our ministry.
When I said Wednesday evenings, our Executive Pastor almost fell out of his chair. You see, in our church, everything evolved around Sunday morning.
We spent the whole week preparing for what happened on Sunday morning.
But, when I intentionally set aside time to disciple children and train them for ministry, that is when my job as a minister became exciting for me.
It wasn't the fun stuff we did; it was the intentionality of the evening that made it work.
We divided it into two parts: ministry training and small group discipleship.
We would train the children in various areas to offer them a platform for ministry.
It was inspiring for them because they were being equipped for ministry. We had a puppet team, tech team, prayer team, dowel team, and many other opportunities to train.
Then we provided a platform for them to use their training for ministry in our children's church on Sunday morning.
Our disciple groups were being intentional as well. It began when we met with parents and helped them reprioritize their lives to put their child’s walk with Christ first and foremost.
One of my greatest joys as a children's pastor/minister has been getting parents involved in the spiritual lives of their children. As parents begin to understand their influence on their children's decisions, they begin to experience the joy of being a parent in pursuit of the Savior. But first, we have to look at some of the challenges we face. Most parents today do not make their child's spiritual life their number one priority. The majority of families would say their child's education is number one. Number two—and you may know this already—Is sports and extracurricular activities. You have seen it. They will choose soccer practice over the church in a heartbeat. Sadly, Jesus is somewhere between numbers three and thirteen. So, how do we turn the number one spiritual influence in a child’s life (parents) back to a path that will help them join their child on their spiritual journey? Here are four steps you can take:
We implemented the L.I.T. program in May of 2019, and we have seen God answer many long-awaited prayers! We had been seeking God for years with the burdens of equipping families to better disciple their children in the Lord, equipping kids to serve God now in their youth, and reaching kids in our community. God has used L.I.T. to answer all of these and more.
At our church, our Wednesday night service has transitioned from being extremely anemic to full of life! Our children’s ministry grew from one family in attendance and one teacher pouring into them to 13 adults and 17 or so children attending regularly! We had no midweek program for Jr. High students, and now we have 100% participating in L.I.T. with their own discipleship group. We have integrated them into our ministry teams as well, and two of those young ladies are DG leaders themselves.