Adventure Pals Blogs
Restarting Your Children’s Ministry – Part 3
So what should a vibrant, fruitful, successful Children’s Ministry look like? Well, since every church is different, it would follow, therefore, that every church’s children’s ministry will be different. What may work for one church may not work in another. You need to find what works for you. It may take several tries. Thomas Edison said of inventing the incandescent light bulb, “I didn’t fail. I just found 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb; I only needed to find one way to make it work.” Don’t give up. Keep praying. Try again. You only need to find one way that works. Also, just because “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t mean we should keep doing it the same way, especially if it isn’t working. Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
At the risk of repeating myself, let me reiterate, find out what works for you. It probably will not look like what everyone else is doing. It most likely will not look like what you thought it would. The question really isn’t what does it look like, but rather, what is helping you to reach the children?
As such, the questions that God asks of Moses at the burning bush, “What is that in your hand?” Exodus 4:2 and Elisha asks the widow in 2 Kings 4:2 when confronted with a crisis, “What do you have in your house?” are very appropriate. Look around, what do you have? What are your resources in facilities, technology, teaching materials, and in the abilities of the workers? Stop focusing on what you don’t have. Start with what you have. Begin with what you know. And definitely start with the focus on your purpose.
But, you may say, “All we have is flannel graph!” Excellent! Kids LOVE flannel graph! They’ve never seen it before. The real secret to flannel graph is not the medium, but the storyteller. Tell the Bible story accurately, with excitement, on a level they can understand, and it doesn’t matter if you’re using flannel graph, finger puppets, or finger paints, children will listen to what you have to say.
This, by the way, is an important issue. Often times we try to “teach” the Bible using facts, much like trying to memorize dates of events in history. Yet much of the Bible is written in a narrative format – that is to say, God presents it to us in story form. So be the Story Teller. This is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God’s Word to children. I hear you, “But I’m not a story teller!” Don’t be discouraged, there are tools available to help you both present the story and to learn to do it more effectively.
There are other ideas I want to address when it comes to “storytelling mediums,” but first, I’d like to touch on two issues when it comes to looking at what you have.
First, after looking around, you realize you don’t have adequate facilities for a Children’s Ministry. Or even more of a problem, you can’t get the girls and boys to come out to your church. You have tools, but no children! I feel your pain, but location is not nearly as important as reaching the children for Christ. Think outside the box.
What if your Children’s Ministry actually restarts in a home, a school, or the local park? Keep in mind, Jesus didn’t just sit at the Temple waiting for people to come to Him. Take your Bible and your ministry on the road. Lead the children to Christ and then lead them to church.
Secondly, when you’re looking at what you have, look at the age groups of children in your sphere of influence (We’ll discuss places to look for them later.). Don’t attempt to restart every age group at once. A church’s Children’s Ministry should be a long-term commitment.
Maybe you can start in the nursery. Perhaps it’s toddlers or elementary school children. You might even have a couple of pre-teens that need to grow in their faith. These are all great age groups to start with. Starting a teen youth group from scratch, though not impossible, is difficult.
Here is one of the important the reality of Children’s Ministries, if you want adults in their 20’s in your church you generally have to grow them. They are the young men and women you ministered to when they were teenagers. But, and this is important, if you haven’t reached them by the time they’re 14, you’ve missed the major opportunity to connect them with the Savior. Don’t neglect any teenagers you have; they need to be discipled. But, unless you have a core group, focus your energies on the younger ages and grow them into a teen youth group.
So? What do you have in your hand and in your house the Lord can use to help restart your children’s ministry?
Next time, let’s talk about where you’re going to get all these boys and girls for your Children’s Ministry.