Saturday, February 18, 2012

Member-Driven Approach to Kids Ministry

Some have asked what crazy ministry we do with kids in a member-driven church? How have we broken free of the centuries old assumptions about children's ministry that keep typical churches stuck?

Actually, for kids 12 and under, our children's ministry is basically identical--even using the same curriculum--as typical churches.  Seriously.

We're not trying to change things just to be different. Different doesn't equal better. So, despite how passionate I am about the need to change some aspects of church, I'm only going to change an element if a clearly better approach comes along.

And let's face it, children's ministry in most churches is awesome. I don't know exactly how or when it changed (there aren't a lot of church history books dedicated to children's ministry), but the kids portion of church somehow got a free pass from medieval restrictions.

They don't teach lecture style, but are creative in how they engage the kids with interactive teaching. They have lots of dialogue, where the kids get to share what they think and apply the lesson to their life. They get to play together and build friendships. They even get to eat together every week. To this day, every time I eat a flower-shaped shortbread cookie--you know, the one with the hole in the middle you can put your finger through--I feel like I'm back in Sunday School. Especially if I can get some apple juice or fruit punch with it.

In fact, if adult services were more like kids service, we wouldn't need to talk about member-driven churches--we'd already be doing it.

I don't know why kids have enjoyed a freedom adults denied themselves. All I know is there's no biblical or strategic reason to change the typical model for kids under the age of 12. If anything, our church is working hard to keep up with typical children's ministry.

Yes, our kids do eat the meal we all eat at the beginning of our gatherings, so they are a part of the first hour with the whole church together. But once we go into either bible study or open ministry, we have a typical children's church program.

Now, our teenagers are handled differently…but that's another post.

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