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!
Now let’s look at how we can change this. We must start from the bottom up, involving children in ministry. Here are steps you can take to help shift this paradigm in your church.
Understand that all believers in your church have a calling to minister, including children. Pray for wisdom and vision for where children can serve in your church. If you have children's church…perfect. Use children's church as a ministry platform for them. They can teach, lead worship, run sound, pass the offering plate, greet children who arrive at church, and more.
Move your teachers from teaching to equipping children. Teach them to model their faith in their group. They should not ask kids to do something they are not doing themselves. Teach them to equip their group like the Apostle Paul did with Timothy. Have your teachers give a spiritual gifts test to the children in their classes. Then they can begin to engage the kids in their classes using their gifts of teaching, administration (records), helps, service, prayer, encouragement, etc.
Find a day to offer regular training for children to serve on Sunday mornings. Sunday evening or Wednesday evening work great. Intentionally provide training in the areas of their spiritual gifts. We have a teaching class, tech team, greeting team, resource room team, worship team, prayer team, and many others.
Our children's pastor made this change about three years ago, and it is inspiring to see children serving and leading in our church. They feel like they are genuinely part of the church, and they have value because our church recognizes them as younger brothers and sisters in Christ. They have a platform for children to minister. It is my prayer that in the years to come, there will not be a leadership void because we are fully functioning as the body of Christ.
We would love to support your ministry. If you would like to know more about L.I.T. (Leaders In Training), click here.