Evaluating the Church and Her Children

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Welcome to the School of Supernatural Children’s Ministry.  I hope that you’re going to enjoy this course.  We try to bring you everything that we can to make you the best children’s minister that you can possibly be. 

This is the very first session in the school, and we call it, “Evaluating the Church and Her Children.”  This is one of the most important foundational sessions we can bring you, because it is going to lay a foundation for everything else that we say and do in this course.

Why Businesses Evaluate

Now I was a business owner for many years before I started Kids in Ministry International.  And, in business, the one thing that I learned is that, as the owner of a business, I had to evaluate everything about the business on a continual ongoing basis, as does every business owner and manager if you’re going to be effective in what you’re doing in your genre, in your area of expertise.

Then you have to evaluate everything from finances to customer service.   If customers don’t like your products or services, they’re going to go to your competitor down the street.  They’ll find another business, a better one to get what they want.

And with technology changing so rapidly, business owners must evaluate if they’re staying up on top of the newest and the latest trends.  They have to evaluate what they’re doing so they don’t go out of business.

Why not in the Church?

But in the church, there is seldom any real evaluation going on in the area of children’s and youth ministry.  Now they may evaluate the big picture of the church attendance, money, facilities, how good their worship teams are.  But no evaluation in their kids ministry–other than attendance, whether the facilities are decorated and as colorful and as nice as Disneyland, whether the facilities are clean, and whether we have enough volunteers.  Or are the parents and the kids happy with our programs.  The attitude in some churches is that as long as the kids are being well taken care of and they’re not bothering the adults, then everything is good, and we are all happy.

Seldom do the leaders ever sit down and actually evaluate the spiritual effectiveness of their programs.  And it’s because our spiritual expectations for kids, in general, is really quite low. We don’t expect much spiritually from them, except to get saved. And, once in a while, a church will get their kids filled with the Holy Spirit once a year at kids camp.  But that’s about it.

Typically, churches have Sunday schools or children’s ministry because the church down the street has one.  Or we just have to have something to keep the kids busy.  Or our denomination requires that we do it.

You see, people expect us to have kids ministry.  After all, don’t all churches have Sunday schools? If we don’t have one, the parents are going to go find another church.  If we don’t have something for the kids and we don’t want to lose the parents, that’s where the gold is.

Very seldom does a church have a children’s ministry because they actually have a vision for it.  In fact, in a survey of senior pastors of Protestant churches, less than 24% of pastors even mentioned children’s ministry as a top priority in their churches.  That’s according to George Barna research.

It’s Time to Start

So, it’s time we start evaluating things ourselves.  Because kids ministry has got to be more than telling cute little Bible stories once a week and handing out animal crackers and apple juice.

We need to start asking ourselves hard questions like, “Is it even possible to disciple children?”  And, if it is, then do we believe we have an obligation to do so?  Do we believe kids can actually become true disciples of Christ, or is this way too much to expect of them?

As church leaders, we need to really evaluate our ministry with children and ask what are our spiritual goals for the kids in our church.  Do you even have any spiritual goals?  Are they written down? Have we ever spelled them out clearly and shared them with the volunteers who help you, and with your pastoral staff?

My Experience

I’ll never forget the first church where I was a children’s pastor.  The head pastor asked every ministry head to write down their vision for their department, and I got kind of excited about it. I did mine immediately. 

So, I went in for my meeting with my head pastor.  And I gave him what

I wrote down.  We had been asked to start with the words “we believe,” so here’s what I wrote that day and handed in to him.

We believe that, according to the Word of God, children are fully capable of receiving and acting on the gospel, including salvation through the blood of Jesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, water baptism, communion, and operating in the gifts of the Spirit, when these things are taught simply and on their level of understanding.

We believe that anything of and by the Spirit that God has for adults is also available to children.  We believe that childhood is the time that God designed for people to receive the gospel, and that we must all become as little children to receive the kingdom of heaven.

We believe we have a mandate from heaven to teach children the Word of God.  We believe that children are a part of God’s end-time army, and that the great commission of preaching the gospel to all nations, laying hands on the sick, raising the dead, speaking in tongues fully applies to born-again children, as well as adults.

We believe, according to scriptural example, that children will play a major role in ushering in the last great revival and the soon return of Jesus Christ.

Well, you know, my pastor read it, and then he was silent for a while.  And when he finally spoke, he said, “Well, I just never thought about it before.”  And he was a spirit-filled pastor, too.  And most pastors don’t think about it.  Sadly, neither do most children’s ministers.

 

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