I’m writing this post to challenge church leaders—primarily, pastors. I’ve written previously that you must be involved in your student and children’s ministry. In this post, I urge you to make it possible for your church’s children to receive these much-needed gifts:
1. Time with you – If your church’s children see you only in your ministry role and they never talk with you personally, all of you lose out on a blessing. There’s not much better than the little guy who runs up and hugs me as “Pastor Chuck” because I’ve spent time with him and his family.
2. Ministry involvement – Missionaries will tell you that kids are often the open door to ministry with unbelieving nationals. That’s the same in North America. Take kids with you when you visit a nursing home. Let them help you pass out water when you’re doing servant evangelism. Ask them to help you pick up bulletins left after the service. They’ll help you just because you asked, and they’ll love the time with you.
3. Scripture memorization opportunities – Your church’s children will hear all kinds of voices challenging them to walk into sin as they grow up. Teach them to memorize scripture while they’re young, and they’ll at least have a biblical grounding to evaluate those voices.
4. Adult prayer cover – No child should have to grow up in today’s world without daily, intentional prayer cover. That’s why every one of your church’s children should have an adult (in addition to parents) who prays for him or her daily. Challenge your senior adults to take on this role, and you might be giving your kids another set of godly grandparents.
5. Missionary time – Get connected with a missionary who’ll talk to your children at their level. If the people he or she works with dress distinctly, ask the missionary to wear traditional garb and tell the stories of his people. I can almost assure you your children will be fascinated. One or two might even want to become a missionary.
6. Transportation to church – Here, I’m thinking of community kids whose parents don’t attend. Few churches have a “bus ministry” any more, but the concept is still a needed one. Make rides available to kids who want to know about Jesus.
7. Offering envelopes – Help raise up the next generation of givers by providing them the same offering envelopes you give their parents. They may give only 25 cents, but they’ll be giving a part of their heart. Even if your church uses only online giving, figure out how to get children involved. Train them now.
8. The best teachers – Don’t put only willing, warm bodies in front of your children. Teaching children the Bible well is, in my judgment, more difficult than teaching adults. Giving them anything less than your best teachers is a disservice to them. It might even be sin, given the Bible’s emphasis on teaching children well.
What would you add to this list?