How to Take Kids on a Discipleship Journey

I have a few questions I'd like to talk with you about.  Here they are.

What guides the content you teach on Sunday morning?

Do you have a specific plan for where you are leading the kids?

Are you randomly teaching lessons without a specific strategy in mind?

These can be some challenging things to think about.

Keep in mind...

We only have 52 weeks each year to disciple kids.  The truth is...it's more like 20-26 weeks a year for the average family because they only attend church 1-2 times a month.  This is reality we must deal with as children's ministry leaders.

Here's what that means for us. 

We must be very, very, very, very focused on what we teach.  Think about this with me. 

Our curriculum should be a discipleship pathway that leads kids toward spiritual maturity. 

Our curriculum should be based on key truths that kids need to know as they progress through their elementary years. 

Our curriculum should be engaging and relevant. 

Our curriculum should move kids forward spiritually.

Our curriculum should be based on straightforward Biblical truth instead of "character traits."

Here is what I would encourage you to do if you haven't already:

Sit down with they key leaders of your ministry (staff and volunteers) and ask these questions.

What do we want the kids to know from the Bible when they leave our ministry?

What kind of a person do we want the kids to be when they leave our ministry?

What should spiritual maturity look like for the kids when they leave our ministry?

What key Bible verses do we want kids to know when they leave our ministry?

Take your answers to these questions and design or choose your curriculum based on those answers.

While the Bible is equally inspired - every part of it - not all of it is geared or applicable for kids.  We're not going to teach preschoolers about the beast of Revelation.  That can obviously come later in their life.

I went through this process with our team and here are the key truths we decided to focus on.  We spend a month on each key truth.

  • The Bible is clear to say...Jesus is the only way. (salvation)
  • God made me and loves me totally. (identity in Christ)
  • This is my story...worshiping God and declaring His glory. (worship)
  • Jesus is my best friend...on Him I can depend. (growing relationship with Jesus)
  • I will obey and follow God's way. (obedience)
  • The Bible is true...I can trust it through and through. (Biblical apologetics)
  • My relationships will grow...when love and respect I show. (relationships)
  • I will live to give. (stewardship)
  • Listening to God's voice helps me make the right choice. (wisdom)
  • I know and can see...God has a special plan for me. (purpose)
  • I will go and share my faith everywhere. (outreach)
  • God can use me to impact the world for eternity. (spiritual leadership)

So...where are you leading the kids?  

Do you have a discipleship journey laid out for them?  

Are you intentional with what you teach?

What you teach matters....a whole lot.  It is critical if you are going to see kids grow up to love and follow Jesus. 

If you'd like to see the pathway and samples of the discipleship curriculum, then you can go to this link.  You'll see lesson plans, strategic discipleship videos, key Bible verses, and more. 

Hundreds of churches are using this discipleship curriculum.  Check it out and let me know if you have more questions.  It can be used for Sunday morning worship for kids, mid-week discipleship, classes, etc. 

May God bless your ministry as you lead kids to follow and serve Jesus.

Why I Believe Kids Should Be Still and Quiet in Church

When you read the title of this article, you may have been surprised.  

Kids need to sit still at church?

Kids need to be quiet at church?

Doesn't sound like the best strategy, does it?

I mean...kids are wired to move. Kids are wired to be active.  Kids are wired to make noise. Kids are wired to play games.  Kids are wired to talk. 

This is all true and our programs should be a reflection of this. 

But yes...being still and quiet should be part of our kids' services, classes, programs, etc. as well.

Here's what I mean. 

We should create an environment where kids have an opportunity to get still and quiet before God.  An opportunity for them to listen quietly and hear the still, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.  An opportunity to talk with God and commune with Him.

If you will block out some time for this, you will be amazed how they will engage.  Here are a few tips for this. 

Have the kids bow their heads and close their eyes. 

Explain that it is important to do this so that they won't get distracted.  If their eyes are open, they will have a hard time focusing on talking to and listening to God.

Play some gentle music in the back ground that will help them settle down for a few minutes. 

Then have total silence.  No one moving around.  No one talking.  No one with their eyes open.  No one causing a stir.  

Give kids a minute or so to silently talk with God.  

Have the kids simply listen in the quietness of the moment. 

Finally, have a few kids share what God spoke to them about. You will be amazed at what they say. 

I believe a great kids' service will blend both silence and noise into a great worship service. 

Yes..I know today's kids have extremely short attention spans. But I have also seen them respond in reverence and focused attention when you invite them to connect with God through prayer. 

When kids are given the opportunity to be still and quiet for a few minutes, you will see God work in their life.  God can do more in a minute than we can do in a lifetime.  

When kids encounter God, their discipleship will be expanded.  

When kids encounter God, they will begin to walk with Him as you also challenge them to make time to talk with God each day during the week. 

When kids pause the noise for a few minutes, they will be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. 

I believe the most important part of the service happens during those times of prayer and listening to God.

If you haven't checked out my curriculum...called C12...you should do so at this link.  Each lesson has time written in for quiet times with God.

Should kids be still and quiet in church?  Absolutely...for a few minutes. 

Should kids experience quiet times of prayer at church?  For sure.

Remember...God can do more in a second than we can do in a lifetime.  I challenge you to be committed to this.

10 Reasons Why Men Should Be Serving in Children's Ministry

Children's ministry has always been a women's led program.  

Go to any children's ministry conference and you will see there are more women than men attending. 

Walk into any church and you will see more women than men serving in children's ministry. 

Check out the website of any children's ministry and you will see more women than men listed.

The bottom line is this...we need more men serving in children's ministry. Here are 10 reasons why...

#1 - We have boys who need a role model.   

Many boys who walk in the doors of our churches come from a single parent home.  Men can be a good role model for them.  They can mentor boys and help fill the gap that many of them feel when their father walks out the door.

#2 - Boys need men that they can look up to.

I am so thankful for women who serve in children's ministry. But I also know that men carry a different kind of influence.  The kind of influence that will be the difference in seeing them grow up to love and follow Jesus. 

#3 - Girls need a father figure that they can connect with.

There is a "daddy gap" that is often left when a girl doesn't have a father figure in their life.  Men who serve in children's ministry can help fill that gap with positive influence.

#4 - Children's ministry is the greatest mission field in the world and offers men the opportunity to make a big difference in the hearts of others.

If men want to make a real difference, point them toward children's ministry.  That is where it is at!  They will see immediate fruit and fruit down the road from the seeds they planted.

#5 - Children's ministry was and is important to Jesus.

Remember what happened when the disciples tried to block kids from seeing Jesus?  He quickly gave the children His full attention as He welcomed them and worked in their lives. He quickly let His disciples know that children's ministry was a top priority.

#6 - Kids need good role models.

Kids need godly male leaders that can show them what it means to follow Jesus with sincerity and passion.

#7 -  Kids need men who can help disciple them between the ages of 4 to 14.   

We know that between the ages of 4 and 14 are the most important discipleship years in a person's life.  Kids world view is formed during this time.  The clock is ticking.  Men must step up to the plate and help pass along the faith to the coming generation.

#8 - Men can partner with parents and encourage them to disciple their children. We know that parents are the primary faith builders in a child's life. Men who serve in children's ministry can partner with fathers and help them with this monumental task.They can reinforce what is being shared at home.

#9 - Men bring balance.   

This takes being intentional about inviting men to serve.  With the best of intentions, we have unknowingly sent a message that says children's ministry is for women only.  We give away "tote bags."  We decorate with a feminine expression for training and parties.  We talk about "love" and "relationships."  All of these point toward children's ministry being for women only.  If we are going to see more men serving in children's ministry, we are going to have to change this.

#10 - Boys will follow men.

Boys feel more freedom to share their input, ideas, prayer requests, etc. with a man in many situations.  Older teenage boys have an incredible opportunity to influence young boys.  This is who young boys look up to and aspire to be like.  

So how does it look in your ministry?  Is the majority of your volunteers females?  

Here are some more articles that can help you enlist men to serve in your ministry.

How to Get More Men Involved in Children's Ministry 

5 Ways to Involve More Men on Children's Ministry

Have We Made Children's Ministry Too Feminine?