This fall, they decided to relaunch their children’s ministry with a new name, “Kid City” as they have a passion for the city of Denver and want to be a light in the community, among other reasons. I was not in on the brain storming for the new name – so I am speculating. (I am not in any official role at this church, though I have just volunteered to teach kids church this month to help kick off the new name.)
I did, however, volunteer to help the pastor, @joshweidmann develop the new name a little to incorporate the broader Mission of the church so that “Kid City” could take on some more meaning and partner with the church more.
So how do you partner the Children’s Ministry with the Broader Adult Mission of the Church?
Let me start by giving an example from the past. In my previous ministry, we had developed our own children’s ministry Mission Statement, which I must say, I really liked a lot. (As have others aparently, as I’ve seen it often in my travels!) But then, the senior pastor got on the ball one year and developed a church-wide mission statement. OUR church existed to: Equip Believers to Impact the World. It was good. It was short, biblical, memorable, easily communicated and on target. He even went on to hire two pastors, one to focus on the Equipping half, and another to focus on the Impacting half. The entire ministry was divided between whether it fit under Equipping Ministries or Impacting Ministries. And then there was the children’s ministries. We do both. I had a choice. I could continue to do my own thing, an island unto myself. I was not asked to change anything. But I pulled my team together and said, “Our pastor has aligned our church behind a Mission: Equipping Believers to Impact the World.” Where does the children’s ministry fit into this Mission? What do WE believe? Our mission was a little different at that time. It talked about parents as the primary spiritual leaders, and reaching kids, and evangelism – all worded eloquently, of course!
So we changed it to: Equipping Parents and Volunteers to Impact the World Through Reaching and Teaching Children.
Sure, it was a little wordy, and it lost some of the stuff I liked in my old one, but it defined how we Equipped Believers to Impact the World through the Children’s Ministry. We did it via parents and other volunteers and we did by reaching and reaching children. It showed we were part of the broader mission of the entire church.
Back to my present situation. Here I had a challenge. I’m given two pieces of information I can’t change:
1) A ministry name already determined.
2) A church mission already determined.
How can I link them? I’m kicking off this new name in Kids Church the next three weeks! I don’t want “Kid City” to just be a cool name. I’d like the kids to see themselves as part of the larger mission of the church. But if I tell the kids,
Kids, You are going to Advance the Gospel in Your Culture to Transform Lives by Connecting People to Christ, Community and Calling!
they are going to look at me like I’m an alien! So how do you bring that down to a kid-sized mission?
Here’s the secret – as I’m sure you may need to do the same thing to your “Big Church” mission. Take the Big Words and circle them, and reduce them.
Element from “Big Church Mission” → To Kid City Mission
Gospel → Its about “Jesus”
Christ → Another word for “Jesus”
Culture → “in”
Connecting → going “in”
Calling → Personalize it: “My”
Community → “Neighborhood”
I ended up with “Jesus in My Neighborhood”
So for the next three weeks, I’m going to teach that BIG MISSION:
WEEK #1: Who is Jesus?
WEEK #2: Who is My Neighbor?
WEEK #3: Jesus in My Neighborhood?
You CAN take a BIG OL’ Grown Up Mission Statement and bring it down to a Kid Level!
And the funny part is – “Jesus in My Neighborhood” might just be easier for an adult to understand too. Just something to think about.