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MINISTRY TO CHILDREN
Welcome to our 5 minute Leadership Vlog! This is Part 2 of Ministry to Children. Today, we’re proposing a model that is not the only right one, but is also based on biblical conviction.
Don’t Cause Them To Stumble
Jesus said in Matthew 18 that if you cause one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for you to have a millstone tied around your neck and to be thrown into the depths of the sea.
Wow! That’s a threat! God is saying that if you should cause a child to stumble, he is coming after you… and it’s not going to be pleasant.
What does it mean to cause a little one to stumble? If you turn a child into a serial killer or if you really hurt him or her and turn that child into a cynic; turn them against the Gospel, then God is coming after you. I don’t know how else you would read that text – it seems very clear! I think God is just, and he judges, and there seems, regarding children, that there is a very strong admonition on God’s heart, for those who would cause these little ones, who believe in Him, to stumble.
A Stumbling Child Looks Like…
The questions then is, what does a stumbling child look like? Could it be that he stumbles into adulthood and saying, “I’ve had quite enough of church, thank you, I don’t want the Gospel.” You might say, “Grant, surely not – I don’t think it could mean that!”
But what if it does?
What if the blasé and sometimes thoughtless way we’ve approached kids ministry has allowed them to develop an immunity to the Gospel and an immunity to church? What if, because we’ve geared our church meetings exclusively to parents, they come out of their childhood experience of this saying “I don’t want any of that!”.
We don’t want to come anywhere near being guilty of that – not that we’re living under the threat of God coming against us – we just don’t want to go anywhere near there.
Our slogan, our motto, our dream and vision is to make Jesus irresistible to children from the moment they walk in until the moment they leave. Our primary focus and care is that they know that Jesus loves them, Jesus saves them, Jesus wants them, Jesus has a plan for them, Jesus has the Spirit for them, Jesus is about them.
I encourage you, that whatever model you take, to use these as lenses to look through when ministering to Kids.
The model we’re going to put to you today can be implemented after the singing time on a Sunday, it can be done midweek, or it can be used for the entire service. You can adjust the model. These are the elements that we would include:
- A warm welcome
- An interaction with mom and dad or the caregiver
- Some form of singing of singing and worship – an engagement with God and free recieving of the presence of God and the Spirit of God in a demonstrative, worshipful way
- Preaching – in a mode that they are able to understand (perhaps in the form of a story)
- A forum where they can process what they’ve heard – allow them to sit in small groups and discuss and digest the message they’ve heard. You learn very little in the classroom purely by listening. The best teachers engage and allow questions to be asked
In the midst of everything you want them to receive some form of ministry and prayer and personal care. This requires a behind-the-scenes knowledge of who these children are, and consistent ministry to them, consistent leadership in their space and intentional engaging of their parents. Those would be our basic elements. We’ll break them down, further, in the vlogs to come.
We do ban a couple of words. We don’t use the phrase “Sunday School” – we want Sunday to be different from Monday to Friday. We also ban the word “teacher” – even though teacher is a biblical word, in the mind of a child this word is what he associates with school and his encounters, Monday to Friday.
We talk about leaders, about Church – Children’s Church. You can give it a brand and name. We want them to know that they can discover Jesus, discover their Spiritual gifts, be filled with the Spirit, engage with God, hear from God; that they can grow spiritually as much as their mom and dad.
Look out for Part 3 of Ministry to Children, next week.