Empower Kids for Ministry Using the Ezekiel Principle

Ezekiel Principle

If you are like me, you have struggled with finding leadership in your church weekly, monthly, and anytime there is a large event. While doing my doctoral studies, it hit me one day: When a child is only allowed to sit and listen in a classroom for eighteen years, the results are the same every time. They become adults and parents who do not want to serve, not because they are lazy, but because they were not taught as children that they had value in the body of Christ and gifts to use for His glory. There is an old saying, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” From Ezekiel 47:1-9, we see five phases of spirituality that I call The Ezekiel Principle: on the bank, ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep, and swimming. In order to take a person into the spiritual depths with God, we must move them from the bank of the river into the deep end and fully submitting to God. This is what we taught our leadership, and we saw a new passion and excitement in the lives of our children, preteens, and students.


A.   I Do, You Watch (On the Bank)

1.    You model the Christian faith. “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”    (1 Corinthians 11:1, NASB)

2.    You are fully submitted to the Lordship of Christ in your life.

3.    You do daily quiet times.

4.    You memorize Scripture.

5.    You faithfully serve in the body.

6.    You do everything in your group.

7.    You regularly attend worship.

8.    You teach, and they observe you.

9.    You should determine the spiritual condition of your group. Who knows Christ, and who does not?

B.   I Do, You Help (Ankle Deep)

1.    Administer Spiritual Gift Test, and determine the highest scores of those in your group. (only for Christian kids) To receive a copy of our free spiritual gift test click here.

2.    Look for ways to allow them to use their gifts to serve and lead in your group.

3.    They help with setting up class.

4.    They read Scripture.

5.    They help with records.

6.    They pray during prayer time.

7.    They help with the lesson. (A week before, assign a small part for them to teach. Call and follow up before group time.)

8.    They clean up and reset classroom before they leave.

9.    They make guests feel welcome into your group.

C.   You Do, I Help (Knee Deep)

1.    They lead in prayer; you close the prayer time.

2.    They teach, and you help guide the group at specific points in the lesson.

3.    They take records.

4.    They keep your room organized.

5.    Children teach the memory verse.

6.    They write notes to those who missed this week.

7.    They call those who missed this week’s small group time.

8.    They serve. (Come up with a specific service project they can do—for senior adults, cleaning up around church, etc.—and you can help.)

D.   You Do, I Watch (Waist Deep)

1.    They take the records.

2.    They lead the prayer time.

3.    They minister to each other.

4.    They contact those who are out that week.

5.    They greet each other as they arrive at small group.

6.    They welcome new people.

7.    They teach the lesson.

8.    They teach the memory verse.

9.    They understand their spiritual gifts and are being equipped to use them.

E.   You Do (Swimming)

1.    On their mission trip, they are fully released to teach, lead worship, counsel the lost, and discover their spiritual gift(s).

2.    They are fully released to serve and lead in your church.

3.    They have discovered their spiritual gifts and are allowed to use them to build up the body of Christ.

4.    They are given tasks beyond their abilities that cause them to turn to the Heavenly Father for wisdom, guidance, and His supernatural strength brought forth in their weaknesses.

“As each of us discovers and begins to use our gifts, God is honored, the Body of Christ is built up, and we begin to know a sense of fulfillment greater than any we can find in the world.” (Philippians 3:12) —Wayne Cordeiro[1]

Dr. Clint May explains the significance of the Ezekiel Principle and how the lives of children can be changed by using it. 

[1] Wayne Cordeiro, Doing Church as a Team (Grand Rapids: Bethany House, 2004), 44.

004), 44.