About 12 years ago, I turned a corner. I began to realize that children did not have to be the target of my ministry but the means by which we do ministry together. I began to do several things that brought about change in their lives:
- I trained them for ministry. Instead of just having fun and playing games, we trained them how to lead worship, use puppets, and run our sound system.
- We trained all of them how to share their faith. Then, we took them outside the church to share the Gospel. We taught them how to discern the spiritual conditions of children they were ministering to and how to lead them to Christ, and we released them to do so. (There are some great resources for teaching kids how to share their faith: EE for Kids, Dare to Be a Daniel, etc.)
- We encouraged them to spend time doing daily quiet times. We taught them the spiritual disciplines of lordship, prayer, Bible study, evangelism, using their gifts in ministry, and living a life of obedience to Christ.
- We taught them how to pray and intercede for the nations.
What happened as a result of engaging them in discipleship, ministry, and missions was transformation. This has become my joy and passion for ministry. Discipleship is more than learning a lesson or memorizing Scripture; it is growing in a personal relationship with Christ and being engaged in ministry and missions.