When I first started out in children’s ministry, I had no training at all.
I was put into the children’s church and told not to come out until the adult worship service was over.
Not really, but you know what I mean!
I had no earthly idea how to take a group of kids on a journey of spiritual growth.
I knew God had called me to work with kids, so I did the best I could by following His leadership. It sure did keep me on my knees a lot praying for wisdom.
If you are like me, when I chose curriculum or resources for the kids in my church, I had a simple plan…
If the cover looked really cool, I bought it!
Most of the time, I found out later on that the content was shallow.
What if you could partner with parents in the discipleship of their children?
What if the children’s ministry in your church was one that heavily embraced children as younger brothers and sisters in Christ?
What if leaders looked at a child with the conviction that they are discipling and equipping this child to minister?
What if every child that went through your ministry was given creative opportunities to serve and minister to others using their gifts?
Here comes the difficult part for some educated folks. We took a group of preteens on a mission trip several years ago.
I trained the children to do everything including leading songs, teaching a Bible story, teaching crafts, and counseling lost children. I taught my adult leaders on the trip that this was our preteens’ mission trip and that we were going to release them to lead and teach.
Each day, I would drive to each site to check up on our preteens and leaders. The first apartment I went to had a lot of children attending.
As I walked in the room, one of the adult lady leaders was teaching and had taken over the Bible study. I pulled her aside and said,
“Remember, we are letting the kids do everything.” She said, “I know, but it is so hard.”
Recent research indicates that of all students who regularly served in the local church, 60-70% stayed because they were allowed to serve and be a part in ministry.
The problem today is that most churches don’t have enough places where children can be engaged in ministry.
That is why what you do as a Disciple Group (small group) leader or Sunday school teacher is critical now.
The norm is that they just sit and listen as they grow up in the church, but does this really work? The answer is no.
If this is your model, I would say the majority of the kids in your group are checking out during your small group time.
So, how do we get past this? Like I shared in my last blog post, we must model for them what the Christian faith is by our actions and our lives.
They can recognize a fake a mile away. Once you have that down, you are ready to take the next steps in moving them deeper in their walk with Christ.
About 16 years ago, I began to change my approach after looking at two commands from the New Testament.
First, the number one command of the Lord is the Great Commission in Matthew 18:19-20. It tells us to go and make disciple of all nations.
Most recently, I have looked more clearly at the writing of Paul where he tells church leaders that their gifts are for the purpose of building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). So, we have two commands that are especially important mandates: “Make disciple” and “Equip the saints.”