You might ask what a preteen can do in your church. The answer is pretty much everything! You see, we underestimate at times the gifts of preteens in our church. Years ago I started a program in my church called Leaders In Training. It is a common name used in many organizations. I wasn’t trying to be original; I was trying to give a title that fit what we were doing with this age group. Little did I know when I started the journey that I would see the amazing God-given gifts and abilities of these kids. My number one priority was that I wanted them to know how to walk with the Lord. So, we taught them how to have a daily quiet time, and to my surprise, the majority of them got into it and were faithful to spend time in the Word of God daily. Then we began to train them to lead…and they did. What amazed me as I gave them opportunities to serve was that their gifts began to manifest before my eyes. Not a few, but all of them: teaching, administration, helps, mercy, exhortation, service, giving, leadership, and the list goes on and on. When I gave them a chance to minister, ministry became a joy to me. I saw these younger saints glorify Christ with their lives and at the same time grow very rapidly in their faith.
Do you find yourself constantly searching for something better for the children in your church?
Have you tried about every curriculum there is?
Did you ever think, “Maybe it isn’t the curriculum that is the problem; maybe it’s the way we are doing children’s ministry”?
In a lot of churches today, we have embraced an education model similar to the public school system.
In education, children are age-graded.
Education is concerned with developmental learning styles according to age.
With the education model, the teacher teaches children about the Bible.
The education model often results in children knowing Scripture without having a relationship with the Master.
You need to ask yourself, “Does this align with God’s Word?”
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!
We were asked one day at our staff meeting what day of the week was the most important to our ministry.
When I said Wednesday evenings, our Executive Pastor almost fell out of his chair. You see, in our church, everything evolved around Sunday morning.
We spent the whole week preparing for what happened on Sunday morning.
But, when I intentionally set aside time to disciple children and train them for ministry, that is when my job as a minister became exciting for me.
It wasn't the fun stuff we did; it was the intentionality of the evening that made it work.
We divided it into two parts: ministry training and small group discipleship.
We would train the children in various areas to offer them a platform for ministry.
It was inspiring for them because they were being equipped for ministry. We had a puppet team, tech team, prayer team, dowel team, and many other opportunities to train.
Then we provided a platform for them to use their training for ministry in our children's church on Sunday morning.
Our disciple groups were being intentional as well. It began when we met with parents and helped them reprioritize their lives to put their child’s walk with Christ first and foremost.