Vision Casting for Children’s Ministry – 7 Golden Principles

Before my transition to coach-consulting in 2001, I led several different ministry areas at Clear Creek Community Church. An unexpected season of leading the children’s area engaged my love for vision around the importance of serving children. What I learned through this season has changed my life forever. I believe that children’s ministry is THE golden opportunity for these seven reasons:

#1 The Golden Heart: Children model the ideal kingdom participant. Each of the gospel writers record that stunning moment when Jesus rebukes the disciples and tenderly engages some young children (Luke 18:17). In the face of self-importance, Jesus shockingly points to a child as the model for how to enter the kingdom. Maybe serving children holds unexpected benefit for Christian maturity?

#2 The Golden Years: Childhood is the most effective window for responding to the gospel. Eighty percent of people receive Christ between the ages of 4 and 14. Enough said.

#3 The Golden Glow: Children have a longer life to serve Christ and accomplish more for God’s glory. If you had a candle to burn for a nice romantic evening, would you choose the one that’s three-quarters used up, or would you choose a brand new candle? (It makes you wonder why generally speaking,  our children get so little attention in ministry leadership!)

#4 The Golden Baton: Serving children plants the gospel into the next generation. Yes, the gospel is always one generation from extinction. You choose if the race is all about your short window to live or the enduring story of global redemption.

#5 The Golden Gate: Winning a child is a gateway to winning the whole family. I can’t tell you how many redeemed families I have seen on the beachhead of a child’s testimony. And yes, the more our culture idolizes their children, the more we can leverage this negative tendency for the gospel.

#6 The Golden Moment: Children’s lives are moldable and full of teachable moments. There is nothing like the moment of awe and insight, when  child learns or asks a genuine question. Play and plant in the rich soil!

#7 The Golden Crown: Serving children has a unique significance which leads to special blessing. In Matthew 25-31-46, Jesus shares the parable about serving, “the least of these.” It’s apparent that “the least” include people of some status or need where they cannot repay if they are served (hungry, sick, imprisoned, estranged, poor) Children, though not listed explicitly, certainly fit this list by virtue of their inability. I believe that serving children brings an unexpected treasure of blessing.

This post is dedicated to my beautiful wife, Romina Andreotti Mancini, who spent a year serving 12, 2-year old children at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Those kids are the most fortunate kids on the planet and I am grateful for her model of love and service that nourishes my own spirit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
 
— winston
 
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 

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