10 Things I Am Against in Children's Ministry

I am "for" a lot of things in children's ministry and I feel like I could make a long list of things I am for.  

But sometimes you need to look at what you are doing and make sure it is relevant and effective.  I am not making this list to please everyone. I am sure some of the people who read this list will not agree.  And that's okay.  It takes all kinds of children's ministries to reach all kinds of kids and families. 

That being said, here are some things I choose not to do in children's ministry.

I am against being okay with not growing

I once heard a well-known pastor say, "There is nothing wrong with small ministries...for about 6 months.  After that, you should be seeing the church grow.  Yes...I know God gives the increase.  He grows the church, not us. But I do believe if His hand is upon a ministry, it will grow.  

I am against being content.  Holding out until Jesus comes.  Turning your focus to inside the 4 walls of the church rather than reaching out to a lost world who needs Jesus.  When you start reaching kids and families, you will see your ministry grow.  

Some reading this are serving in dead churches.  No one is ever baptized.  There is not a passion for the lost.  Prayer is not a priority.  How long will you coast along?  It's time to renew your heart with God's heart.  He is not willing for any to perish.

I am against saying "ssssssshhhhhh." 

It's not the kids fault when our lessons are boring.  They start talking when what we are saying is not capturing their attention.  Hence we begin to send the "sssssshhhh" their way.  Let kids talk.  Let kids interact.  Let kids get noisy.  Designate a large part of the class for letting them talk, discuss and apply the important parts and questions of the lesson. 

I am against forcing kids to sit in the adult service.  

Most often this applies to small churches that can't or won't provide a children's worship service.  The church is small enough that logistically they can manage the kiddos in the adult service.  It would be difficult to do this in a church that has hundreds, even thousands of kids.

Stop making kids get bored out of their mind.  You wouldn't make them sit through a college class because it would be way over their head.  The same principle applies to making kids sit through an adult service.  

I do believe once a child hits middle school, it is time for him or her to start attending the adult service. They are now ready to engage in the sermon and pay attention (if the pastor makes it relevant).

I am against 20 minute lectures.

Kids don't like to sit through a 20 minute lecture.  They have short, short, short attention spans.  In reality, they have hundreds of messages coming their way every day.  They have learned to quickly look through the items.  When they see or hear something that catches their attention, they will zoom in on that for a few minutes. 

Stop lecturing.  Start facilitating.  Allow kids to talk during class by having intentional discussion times.  Allow them to cheer during games that are tied to the lesson.  Stop telling kids Bible stories and have the kids start acting out the Bible stories while you are reading about it.

Don't worry.  Even if they are talking and seem to not be paying attention, they are grasping the truths you are teaching them about. 

Yesterday I was teaching in my home church's elementary class.  The kids were loud and seemed to not be getting anything out of the Bible story that we were having them act out.  When it came time for review questions - they knew the answer to every question - some of which were small details that I briefly mentioned during the lesson.  Don't be afraid to let kids talk and interact.  Even when they are at their peak noise level, they are getting the lesson.

I am against not doing a lesson for babies

We don't do babysitting.  Nursery and preschool ministry is a critical time as you seek to lay the foundation for the coming years.  

You can pray over the babies and preschoolers.

You can sing a song for the babies and engage preschoolers in worship.

You can talk about Jesus with babies and preschoolers.

I am against not having a lesson plan for children at this crucial time.

I am against saying a salvation prayer and baptizing children who don't understand the Gospel.  

Yes. The age of accountability is different for each child.  But we must make sure that children clearly understand the decision they are making. That why I started these 2 classes that children attend with their parents. 

Starting Point.  This is a class that helps children understand what it means to invite Jesus into your life. Hundreds of churches are using this.  You can get more information at this link.

Baptism 4 Kids Class.  This is a class that helps children understand what baptism means.  You can get more information at this link.  

Using these two resources, I saw over 430 children and many parents baptized in one year.  Every single one of them had been through these classes. Not trying to brag. Just wanting you to see that it works.

I am against an "expert" in children's ministry, who has never built a successful ministr, trying to teach others how to do it.

Would you want a surgeon who has not done an operation to do your surgery?  I don't think so. When I listen to or take advice about children's ministry, I want it to be from someone who has a proven track record and who is not just "a hearer" but a "doer" as well.

I am against memorizing Bible verses that only make it to children's short term memory and are soon forgotten.

We have to help children memorize key verses in the Bible.  But I believe that less is more. I would rather have a child understand what one verse means and get it placed into their long-term memory instead of temporarily memorizing 10 verses that will be forgotten by the end of the week.

I am against boring lessons.

We have the greatest story ever told.  Why would we tell it half-hardheartedly without passion, excitement and enthusiasm?

Boring lessons is a factor for kids growing up and walking away.  Dead churches....dead children's ministries...dead youth ministries = kids checking out of church as soon as they are old enough to make their own decisions.  

We need churches to step up and communicate (by their actions first) that walking with Jesus and following Him is the best thing ever!  In fact, it's worth giving your entire life too.

I am against being unwilling to change.

It is sad to see churches that are unwilling to change that they might better reach today's kids and families. The Gospel doesn't change. But how we communicate it and teach it has to change to stay relevant to the kids and families they are trying to reach.   

We must stay anchored to the rock while staying geared to the times to connect with today's kids and families. 

So there you have it. 10 things I am against in children's ministry.  

Which point(s) do you disagree with? 

Which point(s) do you agree with?

What should be on the list that is not?  

Would love to see your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below