Is Your Children’s Ministry More Than Fun?

One of the hidden treasures that the “Prince of Preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, left the church was a little book titled Come Ye Children. In it, Spurgeon contended earnestly that one of the most important tasks given to a parent, teacher, or minister is teaching kids the gospel. Spurgeon writes:

There must be doctrine, solid, sound, gospel doctrine to constitute real feeding. When you have a joint on the table, then ring the dinner-bell; but the bell feeds nobody if no provender is served up. Getting children to meet in the morning and the afternoon is a waste of their steps and yours if you do not set before them soul-saving, soul sustaining truth. Feed the lambs; you need not pipe to them, nor put garlands round their necks; but do feed them.

As a parent, teacher, or minister, teaching your kids the gospel is the most important task you have. So, what is your plan? Just like kids grow physically in proportion to the food they eat and emotional support they receive, they grow spiritually in a similar manner. Are you intentionally feeding your kids the gospel? It is estimated that pastors have 104 hours a year with kids in their ministry, while parents have 8,736 hours a year.

By the end of 2014, will your kids know the gospel?

Help The Kids Understand The Gospel!

According to our kid’s team at LifeWay there are several foundational truths that should be established as the support structure of a child’s faith development—including God, Jesus, Bible, Creation, Family, Self, Church, Community and World, The Holy Spirit, and Salvation (These are charted out in Learning as They Grow). In other words, understanding these biblical concepts is vital to the spiritual development of the next generation. How are we doing with our children? Can our children answer questions such as:

  • What is sin?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • What did Jesus do?
  • Why do you and I need Jesus to save us?
  • How do we receive the salvation that Jesus offers?

It is important that we be careful with our precious children. We do not want to walk them into making a decision to follow Christ without an intentional plan for walking with them down the road of discipleship. Our ministry to children will be measured by disciples, not decisions. In the video below, Trevin Wax offers some practical suggestions on teaching your children the gospel.

TrevinWayGospelProjectforChildren

  1. Repetition is essential.
  2. Choose your language carefully.
  3. Don’t underestimate your kids’ understanding.

So, what are we teaching our children? Are we teaching morals, or the gospel? In that same little book, Spurgeon writes, “…the gospel produces the best morality in all the world.” As we teach our children the gospel, we teach them how to live as disciples.

Point The Kids To Jesus!

Trevin and I both serve as editors for The Gospel Project, a Christ-centered Bible study resource that presents the gospel story of redemption through every major Bible event. Our desire is that kids not only know all the Bible stories, but know the Bible story. We pray that kids would not see Jesus as part of the Bible story, but as the point of the Bible story. Not long ago we heard this story from a pastor in Oklahoma:

One night we were going over the story of Passover. It was such a natural transition to a gospel presentation that I was vibrating with excitement—they were going to hear a clear presentation of the grace of God in Jesus Christ! That night three kids gave their life to Jesus. The next week two more gave their lives to Jesus. The week after, those kids were bringing others to hear the gospel, and those kids were turning over their lives too.

No matter how you do it, or what material you use (unashamedly, I want you to use The Gospel Project) make sure you clearly and consistently communicate the good news of Jesus through your children’s ministry. Make sure you have an intentional plan to disciple your little ones. This is your most important task if you are a parent, teacher, or minister.

Read more from Ed here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Culture >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

lindaransonjacobs — 10/22/14 12:13 pm

A few years back I was leading a DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) group at a church in NC. We were meeting in the spring and over Easter. The kids in our group had so much fun as they healed and connected with each other and when Easter came along I didn't hesitate to tell them the story of Easter. One little kindergartner was in our group. I didn't think he had listened to what was said but the next year when Easter rolled around he proceeded to tell his mother the entire Easter story. This was a family that didn't attend church. When his mom asked how he knew so much about the real Easter he said, "Miss Linda told us about it last year." Kids want to know the truth and they can handle hearing the gospel, especially hurting children of divorce. Thank you for validating what I believe. Linda Ranson Jacobs Blog.dc4k.org

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

You Are Only as Strong as Your Foundation

Your ability to stand strong is based completely on the strength of what you are standing upon. My daughters make me nervous when they climb on top of something that is not sturdy, something that will give out and cause them to fall. Standing is really not about our ability but the strength of what we are standing upon.

For this reason, the apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that they not only received and believed the gospel, but they continually stood on the firm foundation of the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1).

In the same way, community is only as strong as what it is built upon. The community (common unity) among believers in a church is only strong if it stands upon that which is everlasting and eternal. If community is built only on life stages, interests, or zip codes, the community is weak. And thus it disappears as the foundation shifts.

In John 17, Jesus prayed for us–those who would believe in Him through the message of the disciples. He prayed that our community would be strong and that we would be one as He and the Father are one. We see two challenges in John 17 that should inform how churches build community among those God entrusts to the church.

First, community must be built upon the pure and faultless Word of God. Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth” (v. 17). If folks in small groups, Sunday School classes, or whatever the church calls smaller gatherings, if they are not forming relationships around the Word, then the community is inevitably and infinitely shallow. It will not remain. God has anointed His Word as the living and active sword to wreak holy havoc in our lives. His Word sharpens and purifies us.

Second, community must result in mission. The end result of small groups gathering must not be merely small groups gathering. True community that stands on Jesus and His accomplished work for us results in mission. Jesus prayed, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me” (v. 21). Jesus’ prayer for our community has always been that it would result in others knowing that He is the sent One–the One who came for us.

Church leaders, don’t just build community. Build community that lasts.

Many church leaders are deciding that they don’t just want groups of people meeting, but they want groups of people (kids, students, and adults) building community on the gospel of Jesus. They want people studying the gospel not in isolation but in community. Because of this longing from church leaders, we have recently launched The Gospel Project. It is an ongoing study (three years) that is designed to bring groups to Jesus through all of Scripture. It can also be utilized by groups that meet for shorter seasons. We have been overwhelmed with the response thus far to The Gospel Project. If you would like to take a look at the study, you can pilot the curriculum here.

Read more from Eric here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Process >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.