I just rounded the corner of 15 years of children’s ministry and 4 years here at Parkway Wesleyan. Being a reflective kind of guy I have been chewing over what I’ve learned over these 15 years. I am also very honest and very analytical and so I then like to take my thoughts and divide them up so as I put them down I am breaking them into 2 categories – the sad lessons and the yeehaw! lessons.
Here we go with the make my cry lessons first so I end on a good note:
1. Tons and tons of young people walk away from the church and God and many of those jump into a life of hurtful and destructive sin. In fact I believe the stats show that more walk away from God than cling to Him. IMHO this is should be something every church in America needs to look at and figure out what’s wrong.
2. Not many parents really understand their a part in raising “godly offspring.”
3. Way too many of our kids live in homes where life is terrible and there is no peace.
4. People would rather hang with adults than kids.
5. Very few college age kids studying to go into the ministry want to be children’s pastors. Of those that do feel this calling a minuscule number are male. The need for loving and caring children’s workers in the church is so great I might compare it to a dangerous mission an army commander needs volunteers for. Almost anyone who steps forward will be chosen. Do you need to be called into Children’s ministry – maybe – but a willing heart is more important than a sign from heaven. If children are so important to God why is He not calling more young people into this ministry? I think He is but maybe more people need to open their hearts to whatever God has in store!
6. Kids are getting older and more resistant to change at younger ages.
7. Satan is more interested in kids than any other people group.
8. Not all passion is contagious.
9. People would rather do something that they get noticed for or requires little commitment of them in church.
10. It is very difficult to keep a big group of kids' attention without gadgets, gizmos, special effects and multi-media presentations.
Make me smile lessons
1. The younger a person is the fewer walls they have put up to God’s Spirit.
2. God gives special spiritual protection and grace to all kids.
3. The church in general is slowly seeing the need to reach kids, not just keeping their parents happy.
4. You can change your church’s culture through prayer, honor, submission, hard work, creativity and time.
5. You can impact a kid’s life without gadgets, gizmos, special effects and multi-media presentations.
6. The number of people in their thirties and forties catching the children’s pastor calling is increasing every year.
7. Taking your kids to a church event is not quality family time. There are a few exceptions unless you work at the church and then there are none. For real quality family time you have to go somewhere else. Also your kids need times when you focus on them without any other demands on your time.
8. Tying into number 7 the best thing a church can do to reach kids is to help parents see their amazing role God has called them to. You might say what about leading them to salvation? First of all when possible I have come to believe that this is the parent’s opportunity. I would be pretty disappointed if someone took that memory away from me. Secondly getting a child to say some prayer is so easy. They so easily believe and even do what you tell them. But unlike adults I think for kids many times kids grow into becoming a Christian. Their understanding increases as they get older and if we are discipling them so should their love and faith in Christ.
9. The second best thing we can for kids in our church is provide them with solid Christian adults and teens who can be an example and point them to Christ.
10. The third best thing we can do for kids at church is to let them know by our actions, our facility, our budget and our programming is that they are a priority in our church.
So I’m like Adrian Monk and I like things neatly placed in groups of 10. Maybe you think I’m off my rocker and all these are a bunch of silliness. Well get your own blog and write down what you have learned! Just joshing.
Me in 1994 at church event