So I’m in Birmingham and yesterday I got to spend four or five hours with Daniel White, one of the Children’s Pastors at Church of the Highlands. Incredible guy. Sam Luce, Daniel and I hung out at a Starbucks until they closed and then in our hotel lobby until we were just getting slap happy at the late hour.
Or conversations rabbit trailed from favorite movies to past church experiences to funny comedy sketches and most importantly, the Rumspringa. As random as our conversations were, one thing that came up several times and as I went back to the room later, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of the power of the story.
Daniel is a sharp guy, insanely creative and talented. He networks with some of kidmin’s best when it comes to “story” and spent a few minutes talking about some of the blogs and tweets he follows from writers and storyboarders from Pixar and some of the cartoons he watches. He talked about how he’s inspired by these guys who make millions knowing what kids want and how to craft stories and messages in a way they “get it.” Daniel passionately talked about his desire to network and pick the brains of these kinds of people when it comes to Children’s Ministry.
This is SO not the case in Kidmin (generally speaking). I find that usually, it’s the exception to the rule. We are quick to pop in a DVD or throw a volunteer on stage who halfway reads from a script when in delivery. We actually have the best story ever written. It’s a story that changes lives. It’s a story that altered history. However, more often than not, we fall flat on our faces when it comes to presentation.
I know this isn’t the case everywhere. I am making some generalizations… but these are some of the thoughts going through my head at the moment.
Why don’t we care more about how we tell the story? Why are we satisfied with things like how the environment looks or whether the kids “had fun” when the delivery of the most important story these kids will hear every week is far below where it should be? To add to this, I’m thinking about what Sam Luce was telling me today as we were driving around, about how important it is that Kids know that all that matters is Jesus. How often do our kids attend our services and hear a great message about praying, reading their Bibles, serving someone? All of these are great things, but if all that really matters is Jesus, why aren’t we saying that more and why aren’t we doing a better job at saying it.
I’m not offering any solutions here, just thinking out loud. Thanks Daniel for getting my thoughts going about this. Any thoughts?
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you gonna share any of those links that Daniel reads?
Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for. They have a way at looking at something that we try to throw past them without much thought or concern and they know the difference. Children’s ministry is more than just pushing play on some random DVD or using some canned generic material. Statistics show that we are raising a generation of Biblically illiterate children, children that arenâ€™t challenged in the full Word of God. Teaching can be fun, entertaining and relevant, challenging at the same time. These concepts are not mutually exclusive.
The more challenging question may be, why we let modern culture dictate to the Church how, when and where we teach our children. No I donâ€™t believe we need to go back to the King James Version of the Bible or just sing hymns I am talking about letting culture win during the week. For example Iâ€™ve heard on more than one occasion â€œOkay we are dropping mid-week services because our members are just to busy to attendâ€. In my not so expert opinion that is letting culture win. Itâ€™s an example of the tale wagging the dog. Letâ€™s stand up! We are to be salt in light in an increasingly dark world. We are to be making disciples and that takes work and sacrifice. Yea you may miss that dance class or not be able to play on that softball team but you are being a disciple and that should be a priority in you life. Letâ€™s rise up and be different!
I absolutely love to hear a great story and to tell a great story. Nothing is better than the look on the kids faces when they are engrossed in a great story. Nothing is worse than when that story is read without expression and little effort. Come on. It’s God’s story we are telling. It’s the best story there is and we should tell it like that! Just sayin’.
We recently started a childrens ministry for grades 3&4.We already have had a ministry program for 5k-2nd grade but then they would go to the sanctuary. God has given me a vision for a class for this age group.After telling my vision to the pastor,we agreed to start a class for them. We started it on Jan 2nd. The vision that God has given me is to teach these children about Jesus from birth to resurection. My vision is that not only do they know who jesus is ,but that they really come to have a personal relationship with him.I pray that God gives me a passion for this ministry. I have never worked with children of this age but I have a son that is in the 3rd grade.I have found a curriculm and it covers everything that my vision is about for following Jesus with great messages but i am confused on where to go with the rest of the class. I have talked to some and they say I need to have some type of music and maybe a craft.I have inlisted the help of my wife and another couple that are glad to help. The other couple starts helping next week.I did not want it to be something were a bunch of diffrent people would be involved,I wanted it to be more intimate than that .so These other helpers will be in the class every Sunday.Please if you have any ideas that you would like to share I and South Florence Baptist Churh Flornce SC would greatly appreciate it.By the way your article really spoke to my heart and tells Gods vision for this classs and my heart
Itâ€™s great to hear you are starting a ministry for that age group. My prayers are with you.
A couple of quick questions:
1) How many children do you anticipate attending?
2) What level of starting Biblical knowledge do the children have?
3) How long will you have to teach?
4) What other ministry programs do the children have within the church or at home?
5) What is the ratio of boys to girls?
6) Do you have access to multimedia such as a computer or a DVD player?
First and foremost it sounds as if God has put a very specific vision in your heart and that is awesome! Pray every day for guidance and donâ€™t be afraid to ask for help. God will be with you! Donâ€™t be afraid to challenge the kids with Biblical truth. They can handle more than we often give them credit for. Donâ€™t be discouraged if they donâ€™t seem to get it at first. Keep on teaching keep on trying. Always keep in mind that the Bible tells us that where two are more are gathered He is there also. Use His spirit to guide as you teach and prepare. Be flexible; if what you are doing doesnâ€™t seem to be working donâ€™t be afraid to move to plan B.
When I was 17 I went on my 1st SU training day for children’s leaders. One seminar was on story-telling and it made SO much difference to how i told the story each week to my group. I don’t so often ‘story-tell’ now becuase i mostly work with ‘tweens’ but i think that relevance is at least as important as creativity. I tend to chat about Bible characters as though they were normal people – which they were. You have to know the details of a story well to do this. Some kids fall away from chruch because they do not see any link between the Bible and everyday life for them. This is a pity because actually the Bible is extremely relevant if we can just see past the culture.
‘Canned generic material’ can be helpful for some leaders but it always needs a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Try to find someone local to mentor you Robert. I’m in UK so we would use differnet music. It can be an amazing teaching tool. Gr8 u r not using a rota. Relationship is key. Remember that when u get a week that seems to go badly. Keep coms open to God n He will bless you and your new ministry.