What's the secret to growing a church? Great worship? Relevant teaching by a dynamic communicator? Awesome facilities? A friendly congregation? Location? While all of these can play a part, I believe the most powerful way to grow a church comes in a small package.
What's the small package you might ask? Children. Though they are the smallest package in the church when it comes to stature, I believe they are the most powerful when it comes to influence and decision making.
Don't think they affect your church operating budget? Think again.
In the latest family spending survey, 46% of parents said they've gone into debt buying something their kids wanted.Parents (and grandparents) are drawn to a church that loves their kids. Parents give to a church that invests in their kids. Parents choose where to go to church based on their kids. Parents walk into a church thinking, "What do you have to offer my kids?" The truth is you can have great worship, great teaching, awesome worship facilities for adults and a great location, but if the kids aren't happy when dad and mom pick them up, your growth as a church will be limited.
Remember this important statement.
When you take a child by the hand, you take their parent by the heart.If you want to get the attention of a parent, then do something nice for their child. If you want to win the heart of a parent, then love their child. I believe children's ministry is the most powerful way to reach people who are far from God and see them connected to the local church. No matter how far away from God a dad is, when you love his child, you have his attention. And no matter how hard a mother's heart is toward God, when you invest in her child, her heart softens.
Think about all the times in scripture when adults came looking for Jesus because of their child. Here's one example found in Mark 9.
When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him. “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked. One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
This man came looking for Jesus because of one reason - his child. And it's still happening today. I could fill a book with stories of entire families I have personally seen reached through their children. And I've had the joy of serving in churches that decided to invest in children in a major way and as a result experienced exponential growth.
Another great example of people being drawn to Jesus because of their children is found in Luke 18. Check it out.
Show me a church that is growing and I'll show you a church that makes children's ministry a priority. Show me a church that is growing and I'll show you a church that is focused on the next generation. Show me a church that is stagnant and I'll show you a church that has lost sight of the power of children's influence.
Do you really want to see your church grow? Then make children's ministry a priority. If you'd like help in making children's ministry a priority in your church, then join us for a live webinar called "Making Children's Ministry a Priority in the Church" on Thursday, April 6th from 8-9:30 pm. Below is more info. and you can register here.