This ‘four-legged chair’ will support us as we plan our ministry to and with children. Although addressed primarily to children’s ministries leaders, these ideas can be adapted for parents in the home as well. Let’s…
- look at important relationships,
- take time to survey the ‘big picture,’
- keep in mind the importance of intercessory prayer and
- create ministry that advances God’s Kingdom purposes.
1. We engage parents as partners, not clients. We refuse to back down on this. We pray and teach with urgency to help them realize their awesome responsibility and privilege to produce men and women of the next generation who will pass on to the next an understanding of God’s character and works…His Glory. Psalm 145:4-21, Psalm 78:3-7 are great verses to build upon.
2. We patiently focus on context The New Year may be a good time to step back and view the ‘big picture.’ We could invite one or two trusted prayer partners to walk with us through the area assigned to children. What colors, figures, themes are predominant? Would it be better to change any that could over stimulate or frighten, any that are totally secular? Is space set apart for quiet times of experiencing God’s presence and hearing His voice? (3)
We enlist those with expertise in curriculum matters to help create a ‘master plan’ for instruction. Investigating curriculum providers gives leads for this, too. (4) We aim at giving children a multi-dimensional, full orbed exposure to the Bible. Creative repetition is good; so is exploring unfamiliar passages. At appropriate times, we teach kids to teach themselves – some version of inductive Bible study.
3. We make prayer a priority. When recruiting teachers, volunteers, supervisors and staff, we also ask God for a cadre of people who are experienced in intercessory prayer. We invite them to our facility when it is empty to pray over the rooms. We invite them to devise a system for our faith community where each child has someone who commits to pray for him or her on a daily basis. We incorporate more prayer into staff/volunteer meetings…always starting with praise.
4. We prepare children for actions that have ‘Kingdom’ purpose. God seems to place little value on entertainment. Jesus once told His disciples to observe the birds and the lilies, but there are no records of His disciples sitting on hillsides braiding daisy chains. Jesus invited anyone who is weary to come to Him for refreshing acceptance, but even this involved a ‘light’ burden…an oxymoron when confronted with a schedule-beleaguered world. We can explore ways others have found to create for children quiet space and time for listening to the Heavenly Father. We can turn motivation (bucks, stars, etc) from getting candy or trinkets to participating in outreach projects.
The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ includes these familiar words: May Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done (by my children) on earth as it is in Heaven…for Thine is the Kingdom, the power, the glory forever. (Matt 6:9 – parentheses my addition.) This is our prayer for our ministry…our lives. May God deliver us from investing resources in that which advances any Kingdom other than His Kingdom. May He take pleasure in the pursuits of our children as we enable them to serve His Kingdom purposes.
Some of my most trusted resources:
1. Limited Church – Unlimited Kingdom by Dr. Rob Rienow.
2. Sit, Walk, Stand by Watchman Nee
3. Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey by Catherine Stonehouse
4. DiscipleLand curriculum materials – Levels 1 thru 6 and parents’ web site.
As always, we welcome your response.