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.