Why is Children’s Ministry So Important?

Why is children’s ministry so important?

People bring their Bibles to church, but they also bring their expectations. Sometimes, those expectations clash with other churchgoers in the same congregation. Since children are rarely involved in church leadership, their needs and interests can take a backseat to other “more important” ministries. Here are 10 great reasons why churches prioritize children’s ministry.

  • 1. The family is an important part of God’s plan for the world. He invented gender, marriage, and procreation – God invented the generations! The 10 Commandments and the Epistles both include important instructions for children to honor and obey their parents (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1).
  • 2. The majority of people who make a decision for Christ do it before the age of 18. Most studies place the percentage around 85 percent. This number may vary slightly by family or by the stripe of church, but surely it is above 50 percent. Consider your own experience – did you make a decision for Christ as a child or a teenager? If so, then you know about the importance.
  • 3. If a person comes to Christ at a young age, they can follow Christ for their whole lives. The rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-27 is identified by his age, as well as his wealth. What if this young man would have decided to follow Christ? That would have been an amazing story of God’s grace.
  • 4. Children can be examples of sincere faith. Jesus’ disciples drove children away, but Jesus welcomed them into His presence (Mark 10:13-16). The way children accept things as truth is a living illustration of what it means to have saving faith.
  1. 5. Believing parents are commanded to disciple their children – and they need help. Parents in the Old Testament were expected to teach their children about the things of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). This expectation is continued on into the New Testament as well (Ephesians 6:4). Parents can have a huge positive spiritual influence on their kids, e
  2. 6. There are all kinds of forces clamoring for our kid’s attention and loyalty. Retailers and advertisers have focused their efforts on children for decades. Today’s social reformers are directing their efforts at younger and younger ages to capture kids while they are still impressionable. The destructive power of Satan takes on a whole new level of meaning if you think about it in relation to our young ones. (1 Peter 5:8)
  • 7. Reaching out and ministering to kids is the key to ministering to the whole family. Children’s and youth ministry is one of the top three ministries that modern families are looking for in a church. (The other two are worship/music style and preaching). Some church planting experts are recommending a children’s minister/director as the first staff hire beyond the church planter himself. Parents will come to and even in engage in the church if their children are happy and growing.
  • 8. Churches need the energy and enthusiasm of up-and-coming generations. It’s inevitable – we all grow older over time. Churches need a balance between the wisdom and experience of older generations and the energy and enthusiasm that children and youth bring. I’ve had several conversations recently with apologetic parents and concerned church members about the noise and activity level of some of the kids in our church. In my opinion, that’s a good thing because we need these kids!
  • 9. God blesses the discipling efforts of those who minister to children. Proverbs 22:6 is a general principle rather an iron-clad promise. As a church, we have an opportunity to partner with parents as they “train up their children.” This kind of ministry focus invites God’s blessing and we need all the blessings we can get!
  • 10. Every person, no matter how young they are, is precious and important to God. The sanctity of human life begins at conception and extends all the way to natural death (Psalm 139:14). Sanctity refers to the holiness and intrinsic value of every human life. The very young and the very old are frequently discounted in our culture, but not so with God.

Take your pick – there a lots of reasons why children’s ministry should be important in today’s church. Investing in children will pay off dividends now and for eternity. 

What Kind of Partnerships are Permissible?

This past Sunday I shared a message with my church about the distinction between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness from Ephesians 5:3-14. In the passage, Christians are called “children of light” and called to live in God-honoring ways. One of the instructions in the passage that stands out is the warning about partnering with unbelievers (v. 7, “Do not be partakers with them”).

This should make thinking Christians ask, “What kind or partnerships are permissible and what kind of partnerships are out of bounds?” This original question led me to four more additional questions. The answers to these questions serve as a framework for evaluating the types of relationships believers should engage in with those outside the faith.

Will it affect your identity? Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (NIV). A “good name” involves your identity and reputation. Once your identity and reputation have been tarnished, they can be very hard to restore.

Associations with certain social clubs or even social movements can be viewed a kind of voluntary partnerships. Believers should be careful not to associate themselves with a club or a cause they don’t fully understand. If they do, they might unintentionally harm their identity.

Will it affect your values?  2 Corinthians 6:14 is verse another verses that addresses Christian partnerships, especially marriage. It says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (NIV). This verse emphasizes the importance of going the same direction, pursing the same things, and valuing the same things in a long-term relationship.

A solid marriage is built on agreement in a number of key areas. How will you spend your time and money? How will you raise your children? How will you express you religious convictions? Bible believing Christians and agnostics have different views on these key areas because they have conflicting values. This is just one of the reasons why it is unwise for a believer to marry an unbeliever.

Will it affect your resources? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). In other words, the way someone uses their money is a window into their soul.

Entering a partnership with someone who has a different faith commitment can be tricky. A business partnership along these lines may be strained as you make decisions that affect your bottom line. Christians must be cautious here.

Will it affect your witness? 1 Peter 2:12 is just one of many verses that urge believes to steer clear from blameworthy behavior. If a Christian lives like a non-Christian, it can be hard for them to explain their faith to others. Some connections, and even some friendships, can have a negative impact on your ability to share the gospel.

The warning in Ephesians 5:3-14 should not be misunderstood as a call for isolation or various levels of separation from the world. We must engage the world and the kingdom of darkness. But we must also be thoughtful and wise about our longterm partnerships, so that we can live in ways that honor God.

What questions would you add to evaluate the types of relationships believers should engage in with those outside the faith? Please leave your comments below.

A Fresh Way to Craft a Strategic Plan for Your Church

There are several ways to build a strategic plan for your church. Here is a fresh way that may help you achieve clarity and buy-in.

A strategic plan is a document that establishes the mission, vision, values, and strategy for a church, organization, or business. Instead of being framed and hung on a wall, a strategic plan is meant to shape what happens down the hall and in every corner of the organization. A biblical strategic plan for a church is theology in action.

There are two approaches that churches use most often in establishing their strategic plans. The first is what I call “the leader on the mountain” approach. This is where the senior leader (typically the senior pastor) gathers his thoughts and ideas and shares them with a select group of leaders in a meeting or the whole congregation in a sermon series. The “the secret committee” approach is where the church elects a select group of members to research the options, formulate their recommendations, and then to share them with the congregation.

Each of these two pathways has their own strengths, but they also have weaknesses. This blog post about a fresh way to craft a strategic plan that features both clarity and buy-in from the congregation. This way could be called “the open invitation” approach. Here’s how we used it recently to establish a strategic plan in the church that I serve as senior pastor.

First, I gathered information about the basic components of a strategic plan for a church: mission, vision, values, and strategy. I found a biblical background for each component and reacquainted myself with today’s “best practices.” Care was taken to search out the best goals and ministries for our particular context.

Second, I announced that our church would gather for a series of meetings to “rediscover” our purpose and plan as a church. These meetings were held over a period of five weeks and open to anyone who wanted to attend. I used the idea of “rediscovery” to tie our future plans back into our history and legacy as a a congregation.

Each meeting included some form of collaboration and feedback in the form of question and answer, round-table discussion, story-boarding, or written comments. I engaged with several participants one-on-one after the meetings and in-between meetings during the week. Ongoing feedback was incorporated as we moved closer to our completed plan.

Third, I shared a summary of our shared results in a public message to the church body the Sunday following our last weekly meeting. The message was framed as plan for a “new season of ministry” at the church, rather than the end of series of meetings. Since that presentation, I have been working with the church staff and other leaders to implement our new strategic plan.

Strategic planning is a must for any organization, especially a church. The “open invitation” concept certainly has its weaknesses, but its strengths seem to loom larger in a church and season of ministry that requires a great deal of trust and thoughtful interaction. Church leaders who are looking for a fresh way to craft a strategic plan should consider this approach.