Themes in Your Children's Church
and Disciplining this generation is challenging, yet it is the primary objective
of children's ministry. It takes lots of old fashioned commitment,
training and good tools to effectively accomplish these goals.
I am passionate
about God's Word and the impact it can make on lives, but sometimes helping
children fall in love with the Bible is as difficult as getting children to eat
their vegetables. When children are really hungry they will eat anything, but
with cabinets full of empty snacks and sugary treats, nutritious foods are often
left on children's plates. I think How can we help children develop a spiritual
appetite in an environment where their lives are so full?
is not a carnival, a talent show or a spectator event. Children's ministry is
introducing children to Jesus and developing disciples. If we are not doing
that, then we may have effective baby sitting, but we do not have children's
ministry. There can be no ministry without the leadership plugging into the
source of ministry- Jesus. That begins with prayer. Make prayer a priority,
if you want to make a difference in children's lives.
I see incredible
talent in the leadership of children's ministers today, but talent can never
replace the need for a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. You can have a
great children's program with a talented leader and talented staff, but you will
never make the life changing impact that God intended until you become a person
2. Know your
You must lead from
where the children are now, not where you want them to be. I have seen so many
people in children's ministry talk over children's heads about subjects the
adult leader is interested in talking about instead of discovering where the
children are now. Can you answer these questions? Where are your children
spiritually? What are their needs? What are their interest?
Every group is
different. You teach a group of inner city children very differently than you do
children from yuppie families. Talk to your children. Survey your children.
Listen to them talk to each other. What movies are they watching? What games are
they playing? What is their home life like?
I see children's
leaders that want to cookie cutter another ministry and make it work in their
environment. But a much better choice is to fit the curriculum to the needs of
your children and your objectives.
Where do you want to
take your class spiritually? As their leader, where are you going spiritually?
Where do you want to take them spiritually? What is God leading you teach on?
3. Reach them
where they are.
Children are not
adults in little bodies. Children's ministry is very different than adult
ministry. Your motive is not to train them to act like adults, but help them to
fall in love with Jesus. Jesus understood His audience. He talked to the woman
at the well about water. He talked to farmers about seed. Use object lesson,
stories, puppets and drama-things children love to reach them where they are.
Use lots of variety. Keep the segments short, but purposeful. Each object
lesson, story etc. should have a common objective. A good curriculum can help
you by providing a spring board for creativity.
Children need the
basics. Realize that because it is old stuff to you, doesn't mean they already
know it. Instead of always looking for a new message, listen in God's presence
for His message. Having a message from God makes all the difference in the
4. Grab their
Use bright colorful
visuals, lots of action, movement and interaction with the children. No one
wants to be bored, especially children. Keep your program moving. Use a team of
volunteers with varying talents so one person is not in front of the class the
Curriculum from Let
Us Teach Kids comes with set ideas to help you create a thematic
atmosphere. Why is atmosphere important? Ask Disney World, McDonald or fine
restaurants. It works! It draws people and it is good public relations! A
colorful set communicates fun and the value you place on children.
5. Help them to
taste and see that God is good.
When my children
were young I tried to get them to eat nourishing foods by offering them a
variety of foods. I encouraged them with "Try it. You'll like it." I
didn't stop when they spit it out, or pushed it around on their plate.
Expose your children
to an environment that will lead them into relationship or friendship with
Jesus. Depending on where they are spiritually, involve them in prayer time. Let
the children lead in prayer. Have a regular time of prayer in your children's
Fall in love with
the Bible and its author. Express that passion to your students. Ministry is
overflow. Let your relationship overflow to your students. No curriculum can do
that for you. A good children's curriculum is a priceless tool, but it will
never replace leadership that have a passionate relationship with Jesus.