Last week I talked to a pastor of a small church that has a history of not reaching children. Suddenly there are nine kids attending spanning the ages of 4 to 14. This scenario is more common than most people might think. I offered some reassurance that God has blessed them with children and he must trust them to invest in the spiritual journey of these kids so don’t squander the time.
I think that made him more nervous, but I tried to put his mind at ease with this example of childhood ministry in a smaller attendance situation. Think of the children’s ministry as a family. My dad was born into a large family and he was the youngest. His older sister took care of him as much or probably more than his mother.
I described this to the pastor over the phone and challenged him to have two adults teaching but give older kids the responsibility to help the younger learners. This is great discipleship for the older children and builds in a better chance for success overall. I did remind him of the great need to provide space for infants and to be ready for that child. To be unprepared is a first impression no one wants to give. I also encouraged him to locate a couple of teachers who will lead a preschool class as soon as possible.
Parents are looking for a church that is prepared to receive every member of the family and not the adults only. I attached a chart for understanding the Characteristics of Children to be shared with your teachers. All children are not the same so take a moment and consider these traits before you plow into teaching them.
Do you have a children’s ministry all in one room? What challenges are you facing?