Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Keep Your Children's Ministry Before the Eyes of Your Church - It Takes a Church!

In my last post I re-posted Wanda Parkers article about what we want our kids to look like when they are 40 years old. Today I'm continuing her post with her follow-up on how to get there. I also wanted to share a couple additional  excerpts from her posts about the book, Essential Church? by Thom and Sam Rainer. Wanda said, 
"On page 27 we read, '… the youngest generation doesn't necessarily leave their faith; rather they leave their church.' Don’t we see this over and over in the Old Testament?  The second generation may still have their faith but the third generation 'knows not God.' – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Jacob did wrestle with God and came back), David, Solomon, Absalom – what others can you add? I think it was Bruce Wilkinson who first brought this to my attention over 20 years ago.  He pointed out that as we raise up children we want them to be First Generation Christians. 'First Generation Christians Know God and Know His Power Second Generation Christians know God but know not His power. Third Generation Christians know not God nor His power.' If we are going to raise up First Generation Christians we must first KNOW GOD AND KNOW HIS POWER ourselves.  Then we must expose our children to situations where they have to be dependent on God so they can experience His power. 
My previous post asked the question, 'Who Do You Want A Child To Be When he Is 40?' The next question that has to be asked is, 'What does the kid need today so he will grow into the man I pray he will become?' "


  • Intentional, individualistic discipleship of children by adults in addition to mom and dad.
    • Adults committed to walk through life with children.
  • Gospel centered Biblical teaching.
  • Provide teaching so children are able to internalize the truth.
    • Children think in the concrete – Biblical concepts are abstract.
    • Curriculum which encourages Disciplers to share their own walk with God – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t be afraid of reality.
    • If we want children to walk with Jesus into adulthood the truth must sink in deeper than just the brain.
  • Curriculum that speaks to the whole child (spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and social).
  • Children’s Ministry team continually asking, “Are we making the Church essential to the children? As adults will they need the Church to feel fulfilled?” . . . Years ago I was told of study where they took adult siblings who had grown up in Christian homes and one had walked away from the Lord while the other continued to walk with the Lord.  The question they were asking was “Why?” I think that when they began they thought they would learn that it was something that happened within the home. BUT!  What they learned was that the sibling who walked away from the Lord had never felt connected to the local church growing up.The sibling who continued to walk with the Lord into adulthood had close connections with adults within the local body of Christ other than mom and dad. She had experienced child discipleship.In other words he was discipled by members of the church other than mom and dad.  He felt he was ESSENTIAL TO THE CHURCH because of these intentional relationships. Discipled means involvement with the kid in and out of church. It means commitment and intentionality on the parts of adults.Why is this connection to the local church as a child so important? Statistics today show that we are losing 70% of our church raised kids. That means your child(ren) is at risk of walking away from the Lord. Kids need to hear the gospel message from you, but also from other adults with whom they have a trusting relationship. Each time they hear the truth from someone else with whom they have a relationship it builds a lasting credibility. By the time kids are in their teens it is already too late.
  • Every gathering of children considered to be a ministry – not just a program.
  • Intentional Summer Ministries . . . Summer is a time when kids can be taught skills, such as planning, there isn't time for during the year. Make Summer Sundays different from the rest of the year – the kids need a break


  • Provide opportunity for parents to learn what their children are learning so they can continue at home what was begun at church.
  • Provide take home tool for parents to use to disciple their children at home on the concept the child was introduced to at church.
  • Think of the church as a family – we are the Family of God.
    • Families meet needs – provide spiritual, emotional, physical, social, mental support to families as needed.
    • Discipleship Plans
  • Parenting classes
  • Parenting tips
  • Family Plans for families with extreme needs.
  • The church makes known it has teams who will work with a family to assist them in moving out of difficult situations.
    • The family works with the team to develop a plan to move them out of the “situation” in which they find themselves.
    • If within the church itself there are not the needed resources (such as a lawyer) then the team will search the community for one who is willing to do pro bono work.
What Wanda is talking about is being committed to insuring your children's ministry is intentional. This isn't just the "job" of the people who serve in the children's ministry. It is the responsibility of the entire church. To really make this point take the children in your ministry to the front of your church on a Sunday morning. Share the following information - 43% of people make a decision for Jesus before they are 13 years old. After the age of 21 less than 23% of people get saved (George Barna). If statistics are showing we lose 70% of children raised in our churches, which of these children are you willing to lose? Divide the children so they represent 30% on one side and 70% on the other. Say nothing else, then after a moment have the children return to sit with their parents or return to their classes.

Yes, this is a shocking way to get people's attention, but children's ministry matters. We pay far too high of a price when we do not intentionally place the vision, passion, plan and priority on our children's ministry it must have.
Thank you Wanda for allowing me to repost your articles. If you would like to read more from Wanda, you can visit her blog through this link.

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