When I first met him at church, he was only 4-years-old, but had already faced abuse, turmoil and the stress of being torn between two parents who were going through a tumultuous divorce. Though he couldn't verbalize or even understand all he was feeling, it was apparent it had affected him.
He acted out his anger, frustration and insecurity the only way he knew how... through temper tantrums, crying and behavioral reactions. Unfortunately, his story could be told many times over in the lives of preschoolers who walk into the doors of our churches.
Without someone coming alongside him and his parents, a child like this boy will have a tough road ahead. Research has shown that unrelenting stress at a young age, known as toxic stress, causes long-lasting brain damage. The worse the damage, the harder it is for children to pay attention, absorb new information, or trust adults—all skills critical for success—as they get older.
The pathway of children is largely determined by their preschool years. Forming healthy relationships with adults early in life lays the foundation for future healthy relationships. What preschoolers are exposed to and the interactions they have with others are critical for a successful life as an adult.
Studies show that children who have healthy preschool years do much better in their elementary years, have a lower likelihood of incarceration, less need of public assistance, better marriages and a lower risk of heart disease.
And of course, there is the spiritual aspect as well. A child's view of God is formed in their early years. It's in the preschool years that the foundation is laid for a child's spiritual formation.
All of this points to one thing...CHURCHES SHOULD INVEST HEAVILY IN PRESCHOOL MINISTRY.
Preschool ministry should have significant program funding. There is no better budget investment a church can make. The earlier a church invests in children, the higher the return.
Churches should invest heavily in physical space for their preschool ministry. The preschool space should be the best area in the building. And preschool space should be at the top of the list when planning a new building. A church that has an adult auditorium that is an "A" but a preschool space that is a "C" or "D" has made a critical mistake.
Churches should invest their best people in preschool ministry. The quality of the people who volunteer in a church's preschool ministry is a huge factor in it's success. Churches should have their sharpest, most dedicated, highest impact volunteers serving in preschool.
If we truly believe that preschoolers have the most potential of any age group in our church, then we will invest in it with program funding, physical space and people.
Aug 18, 2016
7:35 AM Dale Hudson No comments