Have you developed a theology of children’s ministry?
That very sentence will intimidate many. “Theology” sounds like something for seminary professors, right? However, theology is simply what you believe about God and everything else related to Him. Perhaps you’ve never even heard of a theology of children’s ministry. It’s OK if you haven’t! But let me ask you a few questions that help reveal why it is important.
- What happens when a parent tells you they don’t believe that a child can accept Christ?
- What do you say to a pastor who says he won’t allow children to be baptized until they are 12, because before that they can’t possibly know what they are doing?
- How do you answer a parent who would like to have their infant baptized so that they can go to heaven?
- What will you tell the youth pastor who says that the salvation decisions of children “don’t count,” as he invites teenagers to come to Christ after the “age of accountability?”
- What would you say to an adult who wants to be baptized because he isn’t sure if he was sincere enough when he came to Christ (or was baptized) as a child?
- What will you decide when a family asks you to do a pet funeral? Just kidding! (Though I was asked this question.)
These are just a few of the theological questions that I’ve had to deal with as a children’s pastor. I’m not going to answer them here.
My point is that they aren’t answered with opinion; they are answered with the Word of God. Knowing ahead of time what you believe, what the Bible teaches (and where), and how you will stand on various issues is important.
It is especially important to determine these things when you are objective, so that your study of Scripture is not influenced by what you’d like the answer to be.
I remember as a young man in Bible college being challenged by a professor to determine my biblical position on divorce before I was married. He said if you wait until you want out of a marriage to study the Bible, you are likely to come to a different conclusion, based upon what you want the answer to be.
Likewise, your love of people (or pressure from them) can influence your decisions if you don’t determine ahead of time a biblical framework for how you will run your ministry. Invest the time to study Scripture and develop your theology of children’s ministry. It is critical.
There are several samples of Philosophies of Ministry and discussions about it in the Kidology Forums – if you need help, that’s why Kidology.org is there!
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