How This Article Affects the Way I Think We Should Do Kids Ministry

Rethinking How We Minister to Kids

by John Hailes/ September 9, 2016

*This blog is written in response to an article by Tim Elmore in Influence Magazine.


When it comes to the way we do children’s ministry, consider the shift that takes place from each generation to the next. Just as a quarterback would call different plays for different defensive lineups, we too need to survey today’s culture and see what practices are most effective in reaching this next generation.

It would be insane to believe we can keep doing the same things in a changing culture and expect to receive the same results. In many ways, it would be even more insane if we were so content with the effectiveness of past practices that we kept doing the same things over and over. After all, there is always room to improve.

For this reason I believe there are some necessary changes to be made. Tim Elmore goes into great detail about the changing culture and how it is effecting young people. In order to not repeat his points, I am just suggesting some simple ways we can adjust our practices to increase our effectiveness:

  • A Radical Commitment to PASTORAL MINISTRY

    When we say “pastoral ministry,” most of our minds go to making sure our check-in staff remember our kids’ names or making sure every child gets a high five when they enter our rooms. Our expectations of pastoral ministry are at times laughable, and that needs to radically change!

    I’ve heard it said that the bigger your church is, the smaller it needs to feel. Truthfully though, the bigger your church is, the smaller it actually needs to be! This rising generation is desperately in need of personal connection and care. Neglected by parents and naturally suspicious, it is our job to break through their barriers and create trust.

  • A Radical Commitment to OPENNESS

    There is much fear in this younger generation. I believe one of the most significant factors toward this fear is our adversity to openness. For example, most kids nowadays see/hear about major news events. We know they know about these news events, and yet we do absolutely nothing about it!

    We can be so worried about addressing controversial topics or events with our kids in case we destroy their innocence. But in doing so, we force them to form their own opinions on important matters and deal with the stress of those events all by themselves. We must live with the philosophy that they have already heard about it, and if they haven’t, they soon will! This will help us make a radical commitment to openness in our ministries.

  • A Radical Commitment to DISCIPLESHIP

    It is clear that this younger generation has simple access to knowledge, but they severely lack access to wisdom. The application of knowledge is best gained through learning from someone else’s experience.

    Discipleship has been a dying practice in many churches over the past years, but we need to renew our commitment to it. Our skeptical and questioning kids need guidance if they are going to stay the course.

  • A Radical Commitment to SPIRIT-LED MINISTRY

Kids can fill their heads with knowledge, but only the Holy Spirit can heal their hearts. The only way kids will ever know that God is real is if they experience His work in their lives. No longer can we get away with just presenting a clean and crisp performance on Sunday morning. Instead we need to incorporate times of prayer, reading our Bibles, and responding to the Word.

There is an authenticity that is revealed when you stop your service to pray for a child who is sick, or you switch up your schedule to do an impromptu altar call. They would much rather see that we are real and honest about our flaws than rigid and fake!


 Think about it!