After 28 years of working with children, I have found five effective steps that bring spiritual growth and transformation in the lives of children. In the summer of 2002, I tested the water with kids for the first time, teaching them five basic spiritual disciplines that I learned from NavPress® and MasterLife by Avery T. Willis. I didn’t learn these five disciplines until I was an adult, and they brought amazing change in my own life, so I wanted to teach them to kids, too. That summer, they learned these five steps or disciplines, which resulted in exponential growth that I had not seen in kids before. Here are the five steps we taught and walked through together:
- Lordship: I reminded our kids that when we say yes to Jesus, we are saying, “I will follow.” Jesus tells us that if anyone desires to come after Him, they must deny themself (Luke 9:23). What you will see when kids surrender to Christ is them giving Him permission to take over their lives, and when Jesus has permission to take over, transformation happens from the inside out.
- Prayer: During our Wednesday evening ministry time with our grade-school kids, I was walking down the hallways of our classrooms. I looked through the window in the door of one room and saw the teacher with his group of second graders laying prostrate on the ground and praying. That leader modeled and taught those kids how to pray. They talked about prayer, and then they prayed. Through their prayers, they had an encounter with their heavenly Father. Click here to receive a copy of our free Prayer Journal for children.
- God’s Word: In order for kids to develop their personal relationship with Christ, they need to be in the Word of God daily. Working with moms and dads, we gave the kids small amounts to read at first so that they weren’t overwhelmed. What they learned was a good habit. Spending time in God’s Word and with God daily. From there, they memorized key verses each week that went along with what they were studying. Our leaders reinforced what they were studying by helping them understand how to apply it to their lives. This brought action to what they read and modeled James 1:19, which says to become doers of the Word.
- Telling Others/Evangelism: For every believer, Jesus has given the mandate to “Go” and “make disciples.” For many, it would nice if we could just opt out and not have to do this, but Jesus tells us that we will obey His commands if we love Him. There are a lot of great resources for training children how to share their faith (EE for Kids, Dare to Be a Daniel, etc.). Train them and take them out to share the Good News of Christ. Train them and take them out on mission. If you are looking for resources for training and preparing children for an evangelistic mission trip, click here.
- Gifts and Ministry: This is where I saw the lightbulb come on in a lot of kids. I noticed that when our children discovered their gifts, it gave them purpose in our church and made them feel like they were a part of the bigger picture. Every believing child has one of more spiritual gifts to be used today. Help them discover their gifts and find creative ways they can use those gifts to serve. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they will not have spiritual gifts until sometime when they are older. They have value today because they have the Holy Spirit working in and through their lives now. Get a copy of our free Spiritual Gift Test by clicking here.
At L.I.T. Ministries, we believe in the uniqueness of every child. We are committed to reaching them with the Gospel of Christ and to discipling, equipping, and releasing them in ministry in the church and the world.
As a children’s minister or leader, you probably spend a significant amount of time praying, searching, and developing a vision for what your ministry should look like. You may have tried multiple curriculums in hopes of kindling a flame for Christ in your kids’ hearts, never finding the perfect fit. Often, the children wiggle through the study time, looking ahead to this week’s games and activities. Perhaps, they have heard the story before and you lose their attention quickly.
What if it isn’t the curriculum that makes a difference but the way you DO ministry? We invite you to an exciting training event that will equip you to disciple, train, and release children for ministry in your church. Click here for more information.