The Legacy I Want to Leave
What I wish my successor knew about kidmin
Do you ever wonder what the person who replaces you in ministry will do differently? It’s kind of a scary and sobering thought all at the same time.
I’ve watched a number of ministry transitions take place over the years. Some of them have been successful; others have caused the ministry to flounder and never recover.
So what would I want my successor to know about what I felt was important in shaping children’s ministry? I thought you would never ask…
- My approach to Bible teaching was intentional. The Bible is the core for any children’s ministry. I think we all agree about that. But that’s where the agreement tends to stop. It’s important to me that kids understand the Bible as God’s story. It’s not a collection of stories of some dead people who lived a long time ago that we can learn values and character traits from. It’s God’s story of how He unveiled His plan to be in relationship with the crown of His creation—mankind—and how He longs to rescue them from their sins and their troubles also. Each and every story teaches us something about the nature of God which should impact our thoughts about Him and the life we live. By starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation, I want kids to see Yahweh as the thread Who ties it all together. I want them to know that the story is not yet completed; we are supporting actors just like Moses, Noah, and Ruth. Please don’t get caught up in the stories you want to tell … tell His story.
- Kids need to hear God’s voice very clearly. In the family ministry movement a lot of emphasis is placed on the amount of hours each week a parent has with their children. While this cannot be dismissed, we also cannot ignore that the Holy Spirit can speak to the children any hour of the day—even when they are sleeping. So how do we teach kids how to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit? Though there are a number of methods, but none is more basic than helping them believe that when they read the Scripture they are hearing God’s voice. Make sure you take time to read Scripture to the children in your ministry. Please do not fill every moment of the service time with activity. Kids need an opportunity to listen to and respond to the Holy Spirit.
- Boys and girls are different. By providing times to split into boys’ and girls’ groups, we do more than help manage the crowd. We are maximizing the way God wired us to learn and grow. There are some methods of discipleship that will work better in a group of girls than in a group of boys (and vice versa). Our goal is to create the best environment that will allow the next generation to see our faith and develop their own personal faith. That means we don’t just take into account what is age appropriate and what suits each child’s preferred learning style, but we also understand that gender impacts our effectiveness as well. Boys need to see Godly men; girls need to see Godly women. Please don’t give up on recruiting Godly gender models who will be a living example of what you want your boys and girls to grow up to be.
- Our focus on spiritually healthy marriages is the foundation of our family ministry model. Over the past decade “family ministry” has become a buzzword in the church world. And rightly so. For far too long the church had taken the responsibility of discipleship away from the parents—and the parents were far too agreeable about letting this happen. However, in all of the attempts to fix this, there is one approach that must not be overlooked. Spiritually healthy marriages! Great spiritual parenting often results from a spiritually healthy marriage, but rarely does a spiritually healthy marriage grow from a focus on becoming a better parent. Please don’t attempt to implement a family ministry model and assume that marriages will fix themselves. Make sure you have a strategy to save marriages before they start! Then paint pictures of what a spiritually healthy family can look like so that they pursue that spiritual health for their family.
NOTE: Find out more about the marriage resource SYMBIS at My Healthy Church.
Find out more about the book Spiritual Parenting and its accompanying DVD series at My Healthy Church.