How do we raise children with a kingdom culture who have an intimate relationship with God and partner with Him to bring heaven to earth? While I fully believe in the parent’s role in raising up their children in the way they should go, I also know so many parents and children rely on support from their local church. And that’s not a bad thing! Children’s pastors have an incredible role in helping shape children for the kingdom of God.
Here’s a few things I learned during my time as a children’s pastor that made a huge impact on the children and families I ministered to (as well as my own children!)
It’s incredibly important to be grounded in the Bible, but we don’t read the Bible because we’re trying to get relationship with God. We read it because we have a relationship with God.
I read my Bible everyday (because I love it, not because I have to) and believe it’s incredibly important! When I was a kid, though, I grew up thinking I had to read the Bible every single day to have a relationship with God. That mindset can do a lot of damage. First, it can cause children to think it’s the only way to fall in love with God and have a relationship with Him. I want to make it abundantly clear: reading the Bible is massively important! But so is our mindset about the Bible.
Second, this kind of mindset leads to being eaten alive with shame if they miss a day because they’ll think they’ve ruined everything!
Moses’ relationship with God made his face glow. Did he have a Bible? Did Enoch have a Bible when God took him? Did Abraham have a Bible? All of those people had AMAZING relationships with God, and yet none of them had a Bible.
I don’t want children to feel like they HAVE to read the Bible. I want them to love God so much they just HAVE to read it!
2. Children often are sensitive to God’s leading, but need help seeing how He speaks to them.
God is leading children constantly. He is their ever present help in time of need. The more children know how He leads them, the more sensitive they become to His voice. Here are 3 quick ways to help them be more sensitive to God’s leading.
-Asking questions. There are many times children experience difficult things, and it can be easy for them to be overwhelmed with the situation. Asking them, “What’s Jesus saying to you about this?” is a good place to start. Many times, children tell us what others are doing instead of asking Jesus what He’s doing.
-Paying attention to dreams. During church we would ask for words of knowledge of dreams, share them and help the children who had those dreams interpret what God was saying and pray over them.
-Telling stories. Whatever stories the children you’re leading are drawn to, you can often use the characters to teach about ways God will lead them. For example, telling them stories of Winnie the Pooh having a hard day but he remembers a Bible story that’s similar to what he’s going through. You can transform story time at home or church to teach children ways God will lead them!
3. Being on the same page as the church and the families maximizes the impact you have on the children you’re ministering to.
Over my years of ministry I’ve encountered so many children’s leaders who had a lot to navigate in figuring out how to create a healthy and thriving children’s ministry. Maybe you’ve had a hard time finding lessons that communicate God’s heart, activate children in the gifts of the Spirit, and create space for children to encounter God. You want what your teaching the children to reflect the values and culture of your church.
I know from experience that having the parents in your church equipped to lead their children spiritually in the home is a game changer. When you can partner with the parents in communicating who God is to their children, and when they can practice at home what they’ve been learning in church, it makes all the difference.
That’s why I’ve created curriculum to do just that! Whether you’re looking for lessons to teach that instill a revival culture with practical applications, or if you want a class to equip parents in raising kingdom children, there’s something for you.