Children's ministry is the privilege we have to shape kids' faith, to help them learn to trust God, experience Him, and know Him. It's so much more than just entertaining kids, although it should be FUN! It's so much more than just babysitting kids, although it should be SAFE and SECURE. It's more than just teaching about the Bible, although kids SHOULD learn the Word of God through everything we do.
It's all those things, and more. It's catching their hearts, and helping point them to the Lord. It's brining them to the feet of Jesus, and letting Him change their lives and speak to them. It's giving them a chance to experience a God who relates to them and loves them ON THEIR level - not just the way adults relate to Him.
It's giving kids a chance to know their purpose and see their value to God, to feel His love and to worship and connect with Him. Children's ministry is an opportunity to shape kids' faith!
Every time our doors are open, we have an opportunity to shape their view of God, their relationship with Him, their worship, the way they see themselves and the way they see God. God allows us to be the vessels to bring His message, and to bring kids to His throne.
I am continually reminded of the importance of children's ministry, and the true purpose, although it is easy to forget and get caught up in the details of children's ministry. As children's ministry leaders, we can get caught up in planning events, recruiting volunteers, building sets, prepping supplies, choosing curriculum, solving problems, or so many other things that come with the job. But we can't forget the true purpose of our calling - to point the hearts of the kids to the Lord.
When we can force ourselves to see that purpose, even in the midst of the details, that is when true children's ministry happens. Volunteers are drawn to a ministry where they can live out God's purpose and passion for their lives. Kids will connect with God and have real, authentic relationships with Him and you will see fruit in their lives.
I have had the privilege of meeting with an awesome group of preteens over the last few weeks, and talking about leadership. It is amazing to sit down and talk with them, and hear their hearts and see what awesome kids they are, and dream of all the ways God will use them. And He IS using them! One little guy told us about how he prays for the salvation of his non-Christian friends, and tells them about Jesus. One little girl shared that she started a prayer group during her recess. Another little girl shared that she recently went on an overseas mission trip, witnessed to another child, and led the child to Christ! Kids are amazing!
If you are in children's ministry, always remember the high purpose of your calling, and don't let your volunteers forget the value of shaping the faith of children. Every minute we have with kids is an opportunity to impact their eternity.
What an honor it is to be able to lead a child to the Lord and see Him transform their lives! We should be ready to help kids respond to Him and make life-changing commitments whenever the opportunity is given.
Many people are saved as kids, which makes them one of the biggest mission fields in existence! They are building their foundation for the rest of their lives (and eternities), and we want to help them grow strong roots and become strong in their faith. Kids are naturally curious and formidable. Kids may not understand EVERYTHING about salvation... but I believe adults don't understand everything about salvation either. That doesn't stop us from believing. I know I didn't understand everything about salvation when I was saved at age 17. Kids can have a true grasp of what it means to be forgiven and to have a relationship with Jesus. We know from the Bible that Jesus loves children, and He wants us to bring the children to Him. That is what this is all about- being prepared to bring kids to Jesus. That's what children's ministry is all about.
Here are some tips for leading a child to Christ. Included at the bottom are some resources you can download and use in your ministry. We don't do "altar calls" too often, because kids can feel a lot of pressure or not truly understand. It's more likely that kids will make commitments in their small group setting, with a leader who has been mentoring and investing in their lives, and can answer their questions and have a real conversation with them. Altar calls can be a great way to inspire kids to make a commitment for God.
We encourage parents to be the ones to have faith-conversations with their kids and pray with them to accept the Lord.
Three Steps for Children's Ministry Leaders
1. Empower Small Group Leaders to have faith conversations with kids.
2. Fill out a Commitment Card.
3. Celebrate and connect with parents. Provide resources for growth.
Tips for Small Group Leaders and Kidmin Leaders
Important things to remember….
1. Don’t do all the talking. Ask questions; let the child talk. Let the child ask questions, and help him/her look up the answers in the Bible.
2. Don’t use big or confusing words. Instead of the phrase ‘Ask Jesus into your heart,’ which is too abstract for kids to understand, use the phrase ‘Ask Jesus to be your very best friend.’ Avoid big words.
3. Say It. Ask the child to communicate what he/she is doing, to make sure they understand. Ask if he/she has any questions.
4. ABCs. Go through the ABCs with the child, and use a Bible to help the child look up the Scripture verses.
5. Pray. After going through the ABCs, pray with the child. Ask if he/she wants to pray too.
6. Celebrate! Tell the Children’s Pastor, who will follow up with the child’s parents. Fill out a Commitment Card (1 for the child, and one for the church to keep). We will follow up with Next Steps for discipleship for the child.
A- ADMIT you are a sinner & ASK for forgiveness!
B- BELIEVE in Jesus as your Savior & BECOME a child of God
C- CONFESS that Jesus is Lord & CHOOSE to follow Him daily!
Click below to download
Question - do you remember when you gave your life to the Lord? Who prayed with you and inspired you? Mine was my youth pastor and his wife, at age 17. They eternally impacted my life, and I am forever grateful for them and their investment in me and bringing me to the Lord.
Earlier this month, we did a church-wide fast. I wanted to get kids involved and find a good way to teach them about fasting. So I did some research. I spent hours looking online, and not finding much AT ALL for teaching kids about fasting. The only thing I found was a fasting calendar.... then God put this idea on my heart as a fun and engaging way to teach kids about fasting.
This was a fantastic way for kids to learn in a hands-on way that they can understand. I came up with a lesson, based on the object lesson of an empty cup- which represents us as we empty ourselves from the distractions that keep us from focusing on God, and the way God fills us up. He fills us with His love, His strength and grace, and His Spirit.
The lesson was fun for the kids, but my favorite part was getting to give the kids their own Fasting Cups to take home. We don't just want kids to focus on what they are GIVING UP, but on what God can do to FILL them up. We didn't encourage kids to fast from meals, because their growing bodies need nutrients. Kids would get two cups: one that says "GIVE UP" and one that says "FILL UP." Each cup had slips of paper in them. They would do a drawing a few times a week; one drawing would tell them what they would give up for one day (TV, cell phone, sweets/junk food, etc.) and one cup would be something they could do to allow God to fill them up (Read a certain Scripture, memorize a verse, write a prayer, etc.).
It was really cool to see the kids involved in the church-wide fast, and see their dedication. I had parents tell me that even when THEY started to "cheat" on their fast, their kids would remind them about fasting and the importance of it! The kids inspired me with their hearts for God. I love hearing stories of kids living out their faith at home. The fasting cups were just one simple tool to help kids connect with God at home and live out their faith.
If you want a copy of the lesson "Fasting for Kids" or more info about the cups, click HERE to get this resource from my store.
My husband and I finished the 21 Day Daniel fast last weekend, and it was a great experience for us, although I'm glad to get back to eating regular food!
I love listening to kids' prayers. It is a window into their heart, and a chance to see what is important to them and how they relate to God. Kids really do have a childlike, sincere and expectant faith. We encourage kids to pray as a way to connect with God, not just rattle off a list of things we want Him to do for us.
One day in our preschool room, I observes a little girl who was terribly upset. She was crying and telling her teacher what a bad morning she was having. The teacher stopped and immediately took the girl's hand and asked if she could pray with her. They bowed their heads and prayed together. I came back a few minutes later to see the little girl happily engaging in the lesson, and having a great time.
We want to teach kids that prayer is not just something we do before a meal or before bed, but it is just us talking with God, and listening to God. We want to teach kids that it is something we can do any time in the day. Next time you are around kids, and one of them shares a problem or a worry, ask the child if you can stop right then and pray together. The more kids pray with faith, the more they will see God at work in their lives and answering their prayers.
We teach kids that when they pray, it is a time to talk and listen to their closest friend, our Lord. Let's model this kind of prayer relationship, and encourage kids to have a close relationship with God.
Children are a Gift
kidmin leader, mother, and servant of the Lord.
These are the views of Lynne Howard, and are not necessarily the views and opinions of any church.