Okay. I admit it. I watch the TV show, Survivor. I totally could do without the "drama"; and think a lot of it is fake, but there is one reason I watch this show. The challenges. I like to see what the challenges are and how the people work together - or not - to accomplish them.
Watching Survivor has actually taught me something about Children's MInistry. What, you might wonder, could Survivor possibly teach me about Children's Ministry? It taught me about effectively engaging children - all of them - in activities. Stop and think for a moment. If you have watched this show, you know most of the time there are two challenges or games, during each show which the contestants have to complete/compete in to move forward in the game. These are amazing games! Usually they involve some type of obstacle course/race and then a puzzle to assemble. Whichever team/person does these things first wins an advantage/award or immunity from being voted off the show. Since all of the players want to win the million dollars, they all want to win the challenges/games.
So, what has this taught me about children's ministry? How often in our ministries do we have children play games which leave some children out? Of course it is not our intention for any of the children to be, "left out", but there are children in every ministry who are not athletic and who do not enjoy playing the games. There are also children in every ministry who do not enjoy puzzles. If our games are just athletic games; we end up having children who feel left out. If our games are just puzzles to solve; we end up having children who feel left out. However; if we have games which involve both a athletic event - such as a relay or obstacle course, and a puzzle to solve we are able to engage pretty much all of the children in our ministries!
Give it a try! The next time you have the children in your ministry play a game, let the teams decide who will participate in the athletic part and who will work on the puzzle part. Watch and see if doing this engages all of the children in your ministry . . . and watch and see how much fun they will have!
Plus, in Survivor the contestants play these challenges/games because they want to win the million dollars; but at church we have a far more important reason for children to participate in the games. Most of the time when we have children play games it is to help them learn a verse or review a Bible adventure. Helping children be engaged in our ministries so they remember, understand and are able to live God's Word is infinitely more important than winning a million dollars. And, providing a ministry which is a place our children want to be is also more important than winning a million dollars. We want children to want to participate in our ministries; if they think it is boring, they will stop coming as soon as they can. If they think it is a fun place to be; a place where they learn how to know and walk with God, they will want to come and they will continue to learn exactly how to do this . . . how to know and walk with God!
Now you know what Survivor taught me about Children's Ministry!