What is your aim?

As children’s ministry workers, what are we aiming for? What do we hope will be the outcome from our teaching  in the long-term? In other words, what sort of adults do we hope our children will become?

Over at the WhyMissionaries blog, Wanda has put a lot of thought into answering this. Looking at the whole child in every aspect – spiritual, emotional, social, mental and physical – she has begun a list of goals.

Wanda says:

As we pray, plan, develop and implement ministry for children do we ever stop and ask who we want that child to be when he is an adult? I believe asking this question will make a big difference in how we do ministry to children.

Below is my beginning list. I’m sure it will grow and change – if I’ve missed something let me know…

When you see her list, add no doubt add your own items, perhaps you will respond as I did:

What a great personal checklist for me as a teacher! Does my life model these attributes? Phew! Food for thought !

So, in the midst of the nitty-gritty, week-by-week planning  and preparation for your children’s ministry, why not consider Wanda’s challenge and build your own list of long-term goals for your young people. Allow God to mould you, so that you model these qualities. Then he  might use you in some measure to mould the young lives in your care into great men and women of God.

Connecting with Bible culture

We recently visited two wonderful museums.

Two museums

One was the site of the remains of a Roman fort in Northern England, near Hadrian’s Wall. Here, at Segedunum, North Shields, we saw outlines of the stony foundations of the soldier’ barracks, the stables, groom’ quarters, a granary and the central praetorium, or commander’s house.

We were guided round the ancient ruins by means of an audio explanation, which seemed to bring it all to life. We were also fortunate to see a reconstructed bath house and a mock up of a stable, so we got a glimpse of what life was like in the barracks for the weary soldiers returning from patrol.
Inside, the museum presented artefacts which the archaeologists had found on the site. Among them we saw pieces of cavalry tack and equipment, and religious items. One very interesting room was given over to medical instruments. We were told what operations they were used for and how various ailments were treated by the doctors. It all made us think of our lives today, and we compared our situation with the Romans of a thousand years ago. Somehow we felt connected with them.

In contrast, some months later we visited another eminent museum. It also housed Roman artefacts and some stunning medieval pieces, including jewellery. But this time, there was only a limited effort made to set the find in context. There was no audio guide and the labels on the cases were not sufficient to satisfy our curiosity about what we were seeing.

Wonderful as the displays were, that second museum seemed to miss what the first one had given us – a sense of connection, the ability to identify with some of the items and the people behind them. The Roman culture was very different from ours, yet we felt affection for these people.

Four questions:

  1. How do we relate the gospel of Jesus Christ to the children we teach, and to their families?
  2. How do we show that the message of the Bible is relevant for today, for their lives as well as for those of a people who lived over 2000 years ago?
  3. Do we engender a sense of reality about the characters we talk about?
  4. Do the children feel a connection, an affection even, for them?

We can make the connection between two cultures:

  1. If we ensure that our teaching is not only “a Bible story” (good as it is to convey a true narrative) but something more.
  2. If we explain the life-principles behind the narrative, not in a dry, legalistic way, but in a way that engages the children’s interest.
  3. If we ask God to help us see situations and scenarios that the kids are familiar with, and use them to help the children connect the Bible principles with their own 21st century youth culture.

Apart from covering everything in prayer and trusting God to anoint our ministry with the power of the Holy Spirit, is there anything else you would suggest which would help us to put Scripture into today’s context for kids?

Conversation with Kids

There is incalculable benefit in listening to kids and hearing about their interests, worries and joys. So it was with great interest that we read an excellent article by Wayne Stocks (aka Dad in the Middle). He  asks the question : “Does Quality Time Always Have to Be Spiritual Time?”

In his article for Ministry-to-Children.com, Wayne writes about the value of talking and listening to kids, whether or not you speak of the gospel.

  • What sort of things do kids like to talk about?
  • Is ordinary, “non-spiritual”  conversation of spiritual value?
  • Should we always try to weave in the gospel?

In an account of a recent real-life experience, Wayne answers these questions in a practical way. If you would like to see how relationships can be built and opportunities to bring healing into young lives can be grasped, you can read Wayne’s article here.

Do you feel like quitting?

Greg Baird recently wrote:

We all want to quit sometimes.  Discouragement can be daunting.
Hurt.  Disappointment.  Fear.  And a number of other emotions can bring us to our knees.  We want to quit.  Just give up.

For some of us, a year of children’s clubs is drawing to a close. Some kids’ clubs close over the summer.

For others among the kidmin community, summer approaches all to soon, with VBSs (Vacation Bible Schools, or Summer Holiday Clubs) to plan, volunteers to train and next year’s curriculum to organize as well!

Do you ever feel like quitting, and making this your last year as a kids’ club leader or volunteer, or making this your last VBS?

Or maybe the deluge of discouragement you are feeling right now is coming from somewhere else, other than the children’s ministry.

Whatever is getting you down right now,  I hope you’ll surf over to Greg’s blog, read the comfort and challenge that his chosen Scripture give us, and ponder his keys to perseverance.

Mother’s day and kids with no mum

Once again our friends over at Ministry-to-children.com have come up with a practical and sensitive article.

To quote from the introduction:

Some of the children in our classrooms may not have a mother present in the home due to death, abandonment, military service, incarceration, custody issues, or various other circumstances.Parents can also be dealing with Mother’s Day grief, especially for those who have lost a child or their own mother recently. These feelings often will affect all the children in the family. So how can we approach the day with compassion? 

You can find  Mother’s Day & Kids Who Have Lost Their Mom here.

There is also a companion post on Father’s Day & Kids Who Have Lost Their Dad

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