Adventure Pals Blogs
Restarting Your Children’s Ministry – part 2
Prayer provides a solid foundation for a successful Children’s Ministry. But don’t just cross it off the list of things to do. Continue to pray for wisdom, guidance, a fruitful ministry, and that God would glorify Himself through whatever you do.
The next step is to take an unbiased look at where you are. This can be quite painful, but don’t shy away from it. Are there any particular reasons your children’s ministry is suffering? Excuses like, “Our children are all grown.” and “Kids don’t want to learn the Bible these days.” are neither productive nor accurate. They are simply the short-sighted rationale needed to maintain the status quo and make us feel better. More than likely, the real reasons include the lack of appropriate purpose, space, attention, burden, teaching material and/or workers. Whatever the reasons, the result is the same; we are keeping children from coming to Jesus in direct conflict with His command to “let the little children come unto me and forbid them not. For such is the kingdom of heaven.” Let’s stop rationalizing and get to work.
While we’ll deal with each of these issues in turn, let us first be reminded of the purpose of Children’s Ministries.
Our purpose is not to have the largest Children’s Ministry in the area. Our purpose is not even to fill the church with children. It would be great if the nursery were overflowing, but the church should not be a babysitting service (although that may be an avenue of getting children into your sphere of influence). Our purpose should not be to recapture the good ol’ days.
Our purpose is to be a conduit to teach girls and boys about God. And, while having activities is not a bad thing, activities are not a replacement for teaching – starting with the Gospel and following through with the whole of God’s Word. Let’s face it, activities appeal to children and parents alike. They can draw them in, but if you only have them for 20, 30, or 60 minutes a week, don’t waste it! Structure the time with purpose. Let every aspect present an opportunity for them to learn of Christ. This looks different depending on many things, not the least of which is their age. However, some elements that flow through all the age groups are the love, genuine care, and excitement of the workers both for God and for the children. It is the Truth of God’s Word and the genuineness of the workers that will keep the children wanting to come back.
If you’re looking for a simple outline for a fruitful Children’s Ministry, it must have Prayer, Purpose, and People. God loves children, and He is the one who gives the increase; and yet He allows us the privilege of being a part of the process. So when it comes to people, there needs to be someone who understands the purpose and really cares about these little ones. Ideally, there should be several with a burden for different age groups.
Now I know what some of you are thinking, “We’re old! Our church is filled with Senior Saints. There’s no way we can keep up!” So, stop trying to keep up. Children love grandparents – not because they keep up with them, but because they love them, they have time for them, and they are the voice of wisdom. Treat these children like you would your own grandchildren. Help them grow to be the godly men and women you know they can be. Show them that you care about them.
How do they know you care? They need to hear it from you when they’re with you. And if they’re not there for Sunday School, youth night, or whatever activity it is, contact them and let them know they were missed. Send them a birthday card, Christmas card, or a Thinking of You Card in the mail – pay the First Class postage and let them know they are important. In all of this, keep in mind, the focus here is not to win the affection of the children but to be a conduit to teach them about God and His love for them.
In our next installment we’ll address the question, “So what should a vibrant, fruitful, successful Children’s Ministry look like?”