There are good…and sometimes bad…ways to teach kids how to swim. My friend learned “the wrong way.” When she was young, she was at her uncle's house, and she told him she wanted to learn how to swim. She explained, "Then he grabbed me, threw me into the pool's deep end, and cried out, ‘Swim!’” Darla learned how to swim that day. It was not the best way to learn, but she did it.
After 30 mission trips with preteens, I am convinced that we have to change the way we do ministry with children and preteens.
I am confident that there is a much better way to come alongside our children and raise them up as champions for Christ.
God is moving powerfully in our kids today!
When I first started seeing the Lord move in children 20 years ago, I started videotaping and documenting what I was seeing firsthand.
I was witnessing something that I had never seen before in preteens.
You see, I have been in children's ministry for more than 30 years.
But 20 years ago, the Lord led me in a new direction where I intentionally discipled preteens.
One of my joys is watching children grow in their faith in the body of Christ.
I love to see those lightbulb moments for kids when their faith comes alive.
I was shocked years ago when I witnessed three 12-year-olds (6th graders) from my church lead three children to Christ.
A lot of questions popped into my mind that day.
One I felt came directly from the Lord.
He said, “Clint, is the abundant life for children too, or is it only for students and adults?”
That summer, the Lord began to call me out of the children’s ministry box I was in.
Is your church focused on education or discipleship? How would you define discipleship?
- Do you purchase age-graded resources and concentrate on the developmental learning styles of children?
- Does your church age-grade children?
- Do leaders in your church see children as younger brothers and sisters in Christ?
- Is your ministry model to children such that children sit and listen while an adult leader ministers to them?
- Are children serving using their spiritual gifts?
- Is it your ministry's goal to make disciples who make disciples? For children to become disciple makers themselves?
- Are children trained and released as missionaries?