There is no shortage of books or online articles on success – but what does success look like in Children’s Ministry? You’ll be glad to know the keys to success in kidmin are free. They don’t require a big budget or a specific resource. Budgets and resources can help, but don’t be fooled by thinking they are the key. In fact, they can at times lead you away from real success. So how do you measure success? What are the Four Secrets to a successful children’s ministry?
A Successful Children’s Ministry Must Be:
Child Centered. God loves every child, and therefore we accept them and love them, just the way they are. Children who need special attention are lovingly welcomed. Our environments are kid-friendly, engaging, and educational. Our volunteers strive to understand a child’s perspective and to make the message of Christianity relevant to the life of a child. We have fun, but it is fun with a purpose! Therefore, our teaching is creative and engaging and connects with the world of kids in order to help them connect with God.
“To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22
Highly Relational. We strive to be relational, not just informational. While we creatively teach important spiritual truths to our children, we understand that building relationships with children is the most effective tool. Throughout all of our programs, we seek to connect children with loving adults who know and love Jesus, understanding that this will be more effective than any program, product, or lesson ever will be.
“As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;” Luke 24:15
Gospel Focused. We believe that children are important and matter to God. Not only can children come to faith in Jesus Christ, but God commands adults to come to Him with the simple faith of a child. We present the Good News of salvation through Jesus often and clearly, providing opportunities for children to invite Him into their life as their Savior and Friend. If resources lack the Gospel message, we will be sure to include it, for we believe that without saving faith in Christ, no other Bible lesson truly is applicable nor has eternal consequence.
“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14
Discipleship Driven. We recognize that Jesus gave one primary command when He returned to heaven: Go and make disciples. However, we believe that making disciples is not something that happens haphazardly in the course of church attendance. It should be approached with intentionality and strategy and with a focus on the individual. After the Gospel is accepted, children need a solid biblical foundation laid that will enable them to grow in wisdom and knowledge and character in a manner that will last a lifetime. Empowering parents and others to intentionally disciple children is a critical component of developing lifelong devoted followers of Jesus.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
These are what I call the Pillars of the Kidology Way. If they become the foundation of your ministry, you will find success in your calling…if by success you mean long- term results and not merely short-term numbers. These pillars are not easy. You will have to wrestle with each of them, evaluating how to implement them into your specific ministry environment. Effective ministry is challenging. While these may be difficult to implement, they do produce real results. Real, effective, biblical ministry can’t be sold in a box, but real ministry IS the most rewarding, every time.
You probably noticed two things missing from the descriptions above. There was no mention of anything related to administration, and there were no specifics describing how to implement these principles into your ministry.
Administration is critically important to a successful ministry; it is how we get things done, but it is not what we are called to do. Kidology.org offers a great deal of help in the area of administration, from Kidology Online Training to personal coaches that guide you and train you as a leader, and much more. I often write and speak about developing a Leadership Team to free up ministry leaders from administration as much as possible, so they can stay focused on these Pillars. All of us are wired differently, and we must find what works for us. In the end, mastering administration is necessary – not for its own sake, but in order to have margin in your life and ministry to focus on the Four Pillars: A Child-Centered Ministry that is Highly Relational, Gospel Focused, and Discipleship Driven, each standing upon a solid biblical foundation.
There are many helpful products and resources available to children’s ministry leaders that can help implement these principles. The Kidology Handbook is a manual on Relational Ministry. The Kid’s Church Cookbook is an extensive manual on creating an engaging environment, teaching creatively, and writing solid biblical lessons so that you are both effective and child centered in your approach. My wife, Sara, and I wrote a discipleship workbook called Awesome Adventure to address the need for a kid-friendly, biblically rich tool for discipling children. Not only do I write solid biblical curriculum, like DiscipleTown, but Kidology.org has an online store where many other providers offer helpful resources that can be a great help to you. But again, at the end of the day, it is not the resources that are key. It is the implementation of these Pillars. These principles existed before any of the products and resources, and should Christ tarry, they will still be true 100 years from now, long after Kidology.org is gone and other’s resources are forgotten. Never mistake the resource for the solution!
These Children’s Ministry Pillars are not a trend. They are not a fad. They are not beholden or dependent upon any person or website or product. They are the biblical mandate for children’s ministry, and they have and will stand the test of time.
The sooner you begin to wrestle with how to implement these into your ministry, the sooner you will begin to see dramatic results in the lives of your children. Even better, decades from now, you will still be seeing results.
That is why I wrote my book, The Kidology Way: The Four Pillars of Children’s Ministry. The twofold purpose of this eBook is to challenge you to wrestle with these Pillars and to offer you practical suggestions, so that you don’t have to start from scratch. Before you begin to look at any resource or idea, though, you must decide: Do you agree with these principles? Are you willing to do the hard work of implementing them into your ministry? Will you stand up and be more than an administrator of programs and instead be a leader of a revolution to make disciples?
Download The Kidology Way ebook today! It is free to Kidology.org Premium Members, and well worth the small investment to start evaluating and moving your ministry closer to these Four Pillars.