Teaching Children to Discriminate

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on homosexual marriage and recent efforts to claim certain legal rights for the “transgendered,” states and cities have responded with proposed laws and ordinances of their own.  Proponents have argued that these are attempts to protect traditional Christian definitions of marriage, as well as the freedom of religion.  Opponents…

How to Provoke Your Children to Anger in Three Easy Lessons

We live in a culture that sends parents multiple, conflicting messages about their children.  On the one hand, children are to be the center of our universe—given all they desire, and praised to the hilt (in order to prevent low self-esteem, of course).  They are to be protected from all sorts of suffering, doted upon,…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 16: Grounded in Compassion

When you come to firmly believe that a vibrant children’s ministry is essential because of the covenant of grace in Jesus Christ, then you will remain grounded in your purpose and mission.  But how will you maintain and sustain the everyday work of the ministry?  It will certainly help if you have dedicated covenant parents who understand the…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 15: Grounded in Covenant

“Why do we have a children’s ministry in the first place?”  This is a question you must always be prepared to answer.  Sometimes it will come even more aggressively, like: “I don’t see children’s ministry in the Bible.” or “The early church didn’t have a Director of Children’s Ministry!”  Before you read on, what answer…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 14: Train for Relationships

If we rightly understand that the local church is a covenant community of believers, then we must always prioritize the development of Biblical relationships.  So what does this particular task look like in children’s ministry?  Do we just wait for our youth ministry associates to do this work, since that’s when children become more interested…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 13: Train for Worship

One critical children’s ministry decision is whether to have some sort of “children’s church” during the Sunday morning worship service, or opt to keep children in worship with their parents.  Ultimately, the pastoral leadership and elders of your church are responsible to cast the vision of what biblical corporate worship looks like, including how children are to be…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 12: Protect ALL Children

It’s a sad reality that we need to devote a lesson in this series to the topic of child protection.  But, we live in a fallen world.  Evil people who want to hurt children.  Churches tend to be “soft targets” where predators have plenty of opportunities.  So your children’s ministry  team must always keep a place on…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 11: Serve ALL Children

After serving just a few weeks at my current post, one of our long-time elders and his wife paid me a visit.  After the opening pleasantries, he threw down the gauntlet with this provocative question: “Are you here to minister to ALL the children of our church, or just MOST of them?”   All sorts of thoughts…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 10: Teach with Purpose

If the principal activity of Children’s Ministry is teaching, then this essential work must be tied to our overall goals for children.  Teaching with passion is useless if you don’t know WHY you are teaching or have in mind WHAT outcome you desire.  To put it another way, teaching that doesn’t elicit true learning ends…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 9: Teach with Passion

In a Christ-centered, gospel-driven children’s ministry, teaching is the fundamental activity.  Unfortunately, the educational element of ministry to children has gradually receded into the background over the past decades, as more entertainment-styled programming has been thrust into the foreground.  Correspondingly, teachers in the local church aren’t typically trained to be effective and productive, since knowledge and wisdom aren’t valued…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 8: Choose the Courses

In our last lesson, we discussed the general principles for choosing curriculum.  Since curriculum is the “totality of student experiences in the educational process,” we refer to its components as “courses.”  Think about it this way: A college curriculum is comprised of dozens of courses that must be taken before the student can graduate.  So, what are the…

Children’s Ministry 101. Lesson 7: Choose the Curriculum

Curriculum (n): The totality of student experiences in the educational process.  This important term originates from the Latin “the course of a race,” which helps us to understand what choosing curriculum is truly all about.  In children’s ministry, we have the high responsibility of “setting the course” on which our children will run.  Prayerfully, the chosen curriculum…