Here is an excellent post from the DiscipleLand newsletter:
Many kids have lost interest in spiritual matters. They are discouraged about trying to please God. From their perspective, it is not “cool” to be godly. So they focus on their own desires and let the world guide them. The number one challenge in churches today is to overcome mediocrity. Christian kids are satisfied with lukewarm-ness.
To counteract this trend, some churches have replaced content-rich children’s ministries with high-energy programs. This may keep kids from being bored and it may eliminate the need to recruit volunteers, but it also severs teacher-learner relationships that foster discipleship. If we routinely motivate kids with flashy events, we are doomed to the “bigger and better” cycle. Each new program must offer more energy, excitement, and “wow” than the previous one.
Instead, we must move kids from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation. Throughout the Bible, God uses a variety of cause-effect techniques to motivate His people. Some are positive and some are punitive; some are earthly and some are eternal. Some are fascinating and some are frightening. Remind children that every human being will someday meet the Creator face-to-face-and give an account to Him.
Every child can be motivated-though not every child responds to the same stimulus. Find ways to lift your child’s eyes from self to God. Help him or her realize that our omnipresent God is both loving and just. Establish an appropriate system of rules and rewards. Reinforce attitudes and behaviors that honor God. Show how faith is relevant to life. Encourage, affirm, model, pray.
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great stuff to think about. Great blog post.
This discussion over intrinsic/extrinsic motivation needs to be one of the front and center dialogues in childrens ministry today.
And I agree with the notion that we can violate the discipler-disciplee relationship with too much multi-media. multi-media isn’t bad, but we’re using a technology without considering the effects.