One of the greatest joys I have in ministry today is my leaders—my children leaders. Not adults, but the children of my church. Don’t get me wrong; I love the adult leaders. You see, I have had children serving in my church for more than eleven years. It didn’t start out that way for me, though. I began having children serve out of need. We would fill necessary holes in our ministry with children who could do it. Well, what I didn’t realize was that as I watched them and gave them greater and greater responsibility, they stepped up every time. You may not know it, but each of us in ministry has a calling to equip the saints for works of ministry and not do all of the work ourselves (Ephesians 4:11-13). What saints, you might ask? All of the saints, or believers in Christ. That includes kids! Well, I have done it, and it works. Children are some of the most solid leaders we have in our church. Here are a few steps I took to challenge children and grow their faith:
If you have worked in children’s ministry long, you recognize that preteens and early teens are in a battle. They are struggling to find out who they are and what life is all about. Here are some observations I have made and ways to turn these young believers into servants and then into servant-leaders in the church:
About 13 years ago, I began teaching children six key spiritual disciplines. What I didn’t expect was the transformation that occurred within the first three months. I have served on advisory boards of major Christian organizations, and I have taught at conferences and attended conferences. One thing I didn’t figure out until later in ministry is that faith is not taught—it is caught. Oh, I had children memorizing Scripture and attending church every week. I tried everything to get them through the door of my church. We even saw hundreds of children come to know Christ through our evangelistic efforts. However, I did not see transformation in children until I began to teach them how to have a relationship with Christ through personal disciplines. Paul tells us, “But have nothing to do with irreverent folklore and silly myths. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness [keeping yourself spiritually fit]” (1 Timothy 4:7, AMP).
Here are the six disciplines we teach children in the church that brings about transformation: