Saturday, September 4, 2021

What Matters the Most in Children's Ministry?

When it comes to Children's Ministry, what is the most important thing? Where should Children's Ministry leaders, directors, pastors spend their time? What are they able to do which will matter the most?  These are important, and essential questions for those who serve in Children's Ministry to think about, and for which to find answers. If you were to ask me, I would give you two most important things - they are equally important and essential.

First, it is the responsibility of those who serve in Children's Ministry to keep their focus upon developing a Children's Ministry in their church which will engage the children. If children are not engaged, they will come to the false conclusion and belief that church is boring (and therefore Jesus and the Bible must be boring as well.) More and more children in your ministry attend church with their grandparents - and these children attend only if they want to do so. If your ministry is boring, why will they want to attend?

I'm not saying you have to make your Children's Ministry a "dog and pony show", but you do have to be certain it is not boring. Plan lessons and activities which engage the children. Add in science experiments (an easy and effective way to do this), have children help teach your Bible lesson (divide the lesson among your classes and have each class prepare a visual for their portion. As the Bible account is taught, have each class stand to share their illustrations at the appropriate time), or use dramas to engage the children during the teaching time. Make sure children - all children - feel connected (build friendships by switching up your groupings of children so they are able to know the other children and make friends), and follow up when they are missing by sending out cards. These things are not difficult to do, but doing them absolutely will engage children. And, children who are engaged are children who learn and remember - and don't we want children to learn what God's Word teaches and remember what they learn?

Plus, while you certainly need to teach children what you believe, you also must teach them why they are able to believe those things. Add an apologetics component to your teaching each week, each month, or at least each quarter. Barna's studies show children young people are leaving the church, and their faith, at double the rate of previous generations. We MUST teach children why they are able to believe what we believe.

The second thing I believe is essential for those in Children's Ministry is for them to engage parents and grandparents and equip them to hand down confident faith at home. In the best situation, children are only at church a few hours a week. You are able to be effective in how you use those few hours, but you will get the "most bang for your buck" when you engage and equip parents and grandparents to hand down confident faith at home. Connect them with websites which equip and encourage them. Provide resources to help them know what to do and how to do it when it comes to handing down confident faith. When you do this, you will multiply your effectiveness and children will benefit!

So, engaging children in your Children's Ministry and equipping parents and grandparents to hand down confident faith - these are - in my opinion - the two most important things to focus upon for those who serve in Children's Ministry.

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