Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some Questions to Consider - How Do I Determine My Vision/Purpose for the Children's Ministry?

Our Fall Ministries begin in just over a month and a half, so as we prepare there are a few questions for us to consider. Yesterday I said my, "first question may seem like an obvious question, however; in all the many years I worked with churches, over and over again I had people tell me they didn't have a specific, written vision for their children's ministry." I went on to share a few thoughts about reasons why we should have a specific, written vision for our children's ministries. Today I'm writing about what to do if you do not have a written vision. I believe it is essential to have a specific, written vision for your children's ministry if it is going to be effective . . . so what do you do if you do not have a specific, written vision for your children's ministry? Consider the following suggestions/steps -

  • Get a copy of the vision statement for your church. Your children's ministry vision statement should match your church's vision statement with a focus on the children's ministry. For example, the vision for one church where I served was – “To be a healthy spiritual community marked by uncompromising love for Jesus Christ, caring commitment to each other and bold compassion for those who don’t yet share Christ’s life.”  So, their vision for the children’s ministry was for it to be - “A healthy community marked by uncompromising love for and commitment to children, families and Christ!”  Again, your vision may be similar or completely different, but it should reflect your church’s heart and what you want your children's ministry to look like.  Remember, teaching aims and the vision for your ministry are not the same thing.  It may be a teaching aim for you to help your kids memorize Scripture or learn the 10 Commandments or study the Beatitudes.  Your ministry vision is where you want to see your children’s ministry end up.
  • Gather a group of people from your church to help you craft your children's ministry vision - be sure to include volunteers, parents and church leaders. Use your church's vision to help frame the children's ministry vision.
  • Once you have your vision, determine your children's ministry purpose. Why do we have a children’s ministry?  Because the adults in your church have kids and you have to do something with them, right?!!!  It’s more than this.  Why do you have a children’s ministry?  Anyone can provide a babysitting service for kids, but a children’s ministry is more than that.  What is your purpose for having a children‘s ministry?  As you develop your church’s purpose for your children’s ministry, keep in mind the purpose God has for PARENTS - read Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Psalm 78:1-8.  The church must be careful in the development of their children’s ministry purpose that they do not replace the parents. The church where I served had a purpose for their children’s ministry - “To support families in discipling their children as they grow to love God and serve Him with their lives."  Your purpose may be similar, or completely different, but it should reflect your own church’s unique purpose. Remember, your purpose should explain how you will accomplish your vision for your children’s ministry.  For example, this church’s vision for the children’s ministry was to be a – “healthy community marked by uncompromising commitment to children, families and Christ.” They can become such a community by supporting families as they disciple their children to love God and serve Him.

Once you determine your vision and purpose for your children's ministry then consider the following steps to help your church understand them.
1.    Put your vision/purpose in words and get it out before the eyes and heart of your congregation.
a.    Make posters for your walls
b.    Make bookmarks and put them in bulletins, at your visitor/information booth and provide for all CE classes.
c.    Ask everyone to pray for your children's ministry with your vision and purpose in mind.
2.    Evaluate and select your curriculum based on if it provides the tools to accomplish your vision/purpose - and use your vision/purpose to determine which opportunities you invest your time, resources and volunteers in providing for your children's ministry.

Your ministry vision and purpose are essential ingredients for your own unique recipe for effective children's ministry.  

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