Every Generation Ministries has the joy of serving alongside children’s ministry leaders around the world. During our coaching, teaching and training sessions, we often ask children’s workers if they remember having teachers in school who didn’t seem to even like children. We always find a common and unanimous response.
News Flash: children’s ministry leaders should love children!
Unfortunately, schools around the world are populated by teachers who don’t enjoy leading children. Their job is to communicate information, test for comprehension and give grades. Not only is this true in schools, but it can also be true in churches, where people volunteer for children’s ministry and then discover they don’t like it.
Relationship is the foundation for transformational ministry with children
We believe that relational ministry – developing a close, loving bond with those you lead – is the foundation for transformational ministry with children.
In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Moses gives instructions to the Israelites regarding their children. He is specifically teaching them about how to pass down their faith to their children and in some sense, develop a fruitful “children’s ministry.”
It is somewhat shocking that he does not begin with “how-to’s” with that goal in mind. Nothing about teaching methods, creativity, developmental appropriateness, etc. Rather, he reminds the Israelites that children need to experience the love of God through them. Children need to have a relationship with leaders who have God’s Word “upon their hearts.”
Effective ministry to children begins with your own heart for God
Ministry to children begins with the children’s worker’s heart. Their love for God flows through them to the children. Their example teaches the children as they live according to God’s commandments themselves. A leader’s actions often speak louder than words. Building a positive relationship exampling the love of Christ is the foundation for successful ministry.
Children don’t need another authority figure when they come to church. They need a model of Jesus. A friend. Someone they can talk to. They need to experience the love of Christ in a caring relationship with you. What you say and do is as important as the Bible study you teach. God’s Word really is caught AND taught.
For parents, children need to know you love them. They need to know that you are concerned for them and care about their well-being. Kids want to know you are someone they can trust and talk to. They need to see the love of Christ and the Christian life modeled in you.
Jesus lived with His disciples and built very intimate relationships with them. He is personally present with every believer through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Relational ministry is an expression of Jesus’ incarnation in this world.