Effective ministry to children (whatever the “department” is called) is critical to a healthy church. It impacts the church in all directions. Virtually everyone in the church is linked to ministry to children in some way or another. Parents often judge their commitment (and attendance!) to the church based on whether their kids like the ministry to children. And, of course, we all know the spiritual impact that can be made in the lives of children.
So how do we create healthy ministry to children? Every church is different, every ministry unique, and it takes far more than a blog post to answer that question. However, here’s the framework of a model that I’ve found applies to each environment I’ve ever associated with over the past 25 years:
1. Establish a strong foundation. Focus on:
- Vision that is effectively aligned with the overall vision of the church.
- A commitment to strong leadership, not just functional administration.
2. Evaluate as a matter of habit. Focus on:
- Systems, structures & processes that empower leaders.
- Creating avenues of communication between staff & within ministry to children.
3. Embrace spiritual formation. Focus on:
- Creating a purposeful plan beginning at birth.
- The centrality of the Gospel in all teaching.
- Giving responsibility for spiritual formation back to parents.
4. Equip others to do the work of the ministry. Focus on:
- Equipping parents to disciple their own children.
- Equipping volunteers to effectively engage children in the teaching process.
- Developing leaders (not just followers) to assume responsibility for ministry.
5. Engage children for life change. Focus on:
- Environments that capture their imagination.
- Methods that capture their heart.
Is it simple? Yes (See Children’s Ministry Is Not That Hard). Is it easy? No (See Why Is Children’s Ministry So Hard?). Ministry to children is the single most complex department in the church. No other ministry reaches or involves so many individuals or impacts so many other departments, targets such a broad audience developmentally, requires such intense oversight, or is liable for so many risks.
But no other ministry can spiritually impact at any deeper level than ministry to children. The spiritual outlook of a person is formed in the early years, and studies show that 85% of those who accept Christ will do so between the ages of 4 & 14.
So, as I’ve said for years…
You can’t have a healthy church if you don’t have a healthy ministry to children.” (Tweet this)
How healthy is your ministry to children?