Why Does Children's Ministry Matter?
By: Tony Kummer
This is something that Iím passionate about. Here are 22 reasons why I know that childrenís ministry matters. I have split them into two categories to make them easier to read. Enjoy and share freely.
14 Ways Childrenís Ministry Benefits the Children
1. It promotes their eternal happiness.
I want my kids to find indestructible joy in Christ. Constantly work to introduce them to Jesus. Make the good news plain in everything you do. We have a mural in our childrenís worship room that summarizes the story of Jesus.
2. It helps them make sense out of life.
Only understanding who made the world, what went wrong, and Godís plan to fix it can explain this world we all experience. Teach a Gospel-centered worldview with specific applications that will help them interpret life.
3. It is their best chance to accept Christ.
Research has proven that kids tend to be more receptive to the Gospel than any other age group. I want my children to have every opportunity to believe in Jesus. Present the good news in age-appropriate ways all throughout childhood. I have different booklets that I give to different age groups to better target their comprehension level.
4. It helps avoid some negative outcomes of sin.
Only Godís grace can change our hearts, but knowing the consequences of disobeying God is often a wakeup call. When children understand the great price that Jesus paid for their salvation, they are more likely to stay on the way of the righteous. Be careful to teach both Godís law and Godís love; one doesnít make sense without the other.
5. It can help counterbalance worldly influences.
Everyone knows the harmful influences present in our society. Kids need positive influences to tip the scale. Help them see where Godís values conflict with worldly values. For example, God says to love other people, and the world says to ďlook out for yourself.Ē
6. It can help them learn to love others.
The 2nd greatest commandment is to love your neighbor. We must teach this as a way of life, because it doesnít come naturally. Provide real-life experiences for them to love other people. Some examples are mission trips, prayer partners, and ministry projects.
7. It is something fun to do.
Do you know who invented fun? God did. Do you know why? For his own glory. While entertainment and fun-seeking can become an idol, we should not think God is against fun. As a leader, you should be having fun, too. Let the children know that you love ministering to them.
8. It helps kids want to come to church.
There is nothing wrong with having a program that appeals to the interests of children, especially when it brings more children to hear the Gospel. Make a list of the needs, interests, and motivations of kids. Use these to inform (not dictate) how you will present Godís truth.
9. It helps them make new friends.
Some of the best friends children will ever make is in the church. Allow time for group activities and relationship building in your programs.
10. It helps discover and intervene in abusive home situations.
This is something we rarely address. But the church is often one of the few safe places for abused children. Pay attention to what kids are saying about their home life. Try to get to know every family. If you suspect abuse, you are legally (and morally) obligated to report it.
11. It helps children get to know their pastors.
One of the best ways for ministers to connect with younger families is by working in the childrenís programs. Draft pastors and staff ministers to serve in VBS or other ministry programs.
12. It gives kids meaningful keepsakes.
Those VBS and Sunday school crafts often become prized possessions. The Bible verses on their keepsakes will remind them of what they have learned for years to come. Plan high-value crafts that are worthy of keeping.
13. It gives children special memories.
Think back to when you were a child in Sunday school. Can you remember a special teacher or event? Take photos, make videos, or encourage kids to journal their memories.
14. It allows them to make friends with adult volunteers in safe context.
In our culture, child safety is a constant concern, and rightly so. But there is still great value in kids finding adult mentors in the church. Design adult-led small groups into our ministry times.
8 Ways Childrenís Ministry Benefits Families
1. It supports godly parenting.
The church was never meant to be the exclusive faith teacher of children. Instead, Godís plan was for the two institutions (church and family) to form a partnership. Be intentional about helping parents fulfill their calling. Involve them in the ministry, provide resources, and offer parents training in family discipleship.
2. It helps nudge some parents into more faithful attendance.
Usually, parents become more involved in the church when their kids become more involved in the childrenís ministry. Look for families on the fringe and work to get their kids more active in our programs.
3. It brings unchurched families in contact with the Gospel.
In our culture, reaching children is one of the most effective ways to make contact with unchurched families. Be intentional about family outreach and follow-up. Make a plan, share it with your pastor, and stick to it.
4. It helps new families get connected with the church.
Even when a new family comes into the church, they still need help to get plugged in. Recruit new members to serve in your programs (or somewhere else if they arenít a good match).
5. It helps identify families that may benefit from biblical counseling.
Often, in working with kids, we discover deeper problems at home that need biblical counseling. Work closely with pastors (or counseling ministry) to refer families for help.
6. It helps dads get involved in the church.
For various reasons, fathers have a difficult time getting connected with the church family. One great way to bridge this gap is to use kidsí sports ministries. Explore programs like Upward Basketball as a tool to for outreach and father assimilation.
7. It provides families with meaningful shared experiences.
This is true especially when the whole family can participate in events like VBS or summer camp. Be aware of the potential for families to build traditions through your programs.
8. It helps answers those hard questions.
Almost every week a child will come to me with a religious question that has stumped their parents. Even while answering the question, reinforce parental teaching authority. Help parents to find resources that will answer future hard questions.
Tony Kummer is a children's pastor from Indiana and founder of Ministry-To-Children.com.