By Mimi Bullock
Children’s church or big church? That is the question many parents are asking lately.
When I began in ministry back in 1997, children’s churches weren’t wildly popular in my area, but, over the years, the trend has caught on.
Now I am happy to report we have some amazing ministries that reach children of all races and social situations. I am blessed to have been involved with some of those.
A well-run children’s church can be a major asset in your church and a tool God uses to tell children about Jesus. Our young people are so blessed to belong to faith communities who love them enough to teach the Bible on a level they can understand and enjoy!
Should parents send their kids to children’s church or keep them in big church?
According to some recent blog posts I’ve read, many parents are abandoning their support for children’s ministry and keeping their kids in the adult church services. Not only that, but they are encouraging others to do the same.
That’s fine, and that’s certainly their choice, but I find some of these church purists’ attitudes a bit shocking, especially the practice of shaming parents for their perceived lack of commitment to their children’s spiritual life.
How can someone label a parent as lazy or immature because they take their child to children’s church? And I have to ask myself, how in the world did we get here? Aren’t we all co-ministers of the gospel?
To you, dear children’s minister, I say keep up the good work. Share the gospel. Love the kids. Don’t let this vocal minority discourage you in any way. Kids need you.
They need children’s church. You know the calling God has put in your life – keep telling them about Jesus. It matters so much.
1. Christian children need socialization/peer fellowship, too.
Many parents homeschool their children, and the socialization aspect of children’s church is a major plus for these kids. These parents need you and your ministry.
2. Christian children need the community to stand with them.
While in public schools, children are bombarded with confusing messages about gender, sexuality and so much more. In children’s church, they learn that it is okay to stand up for what’s right, and they see how they can do it by watching other children. Just like adults need fellowship, children do, too.
3. Children don’t need to be “preached at” to be inspired.
There, I said it. Children learn differently. Let’s teach kids the way they need to be taught. If they were in school, they wouldn’t just sit at a desk all day and listen to the teacher drone on and on. They would be at learning centers, trying hands-on experiments. They would be doing all those things. Not being preached at from a faraway pulpit. Or worse, learning to fake listen like too many grown-ups in our congregations.
4. Jesus encouraged us to let the children come to him–and do not hinder them!
Here’s the actual verse in Matthew 19:14,”Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” What was the action here? Whoever brought these children (parents? friends?) wanted Jesus to interact with them, lay hands on them, pray for them. They weren’t being led into the temple to sit on a pew. That’s something to think about!
5. Children need access to your special anointing.
And it is special. You are anointed to minister to children. God is aware of our culture. He is aware of our current methods of ministry. You have been put here on purpose for an on-purpose reason. No matter who speaks against your ministry, you are called by God to stand in the place you serve. Don’t give up. Be encouraged. You are a blessing.
None if this trumps a parent’s personal conviction. Only the parent can know if their child is “getting it” in the big church experience.
The best models we’ve seen blend the kids into the adult service increasingly as they mature. So maybe preschoolers get some songs, younger elementary stay a little more, older elementary is there most of the time. Every church is working on a balance.
We’re all on the same team with one goal – that our kids can grow to love & trust Jesus with all their hearts. Let’s just make sure we don’t rush them past the tremendous blessing found in the children’s church.
Mimi Bullock writes for www.Ministry-To-Children.com, a resource started by Tony Kummer to solve children’s ministry problems.