Luke 8 provides the record of the sower, the seed, and the soil. Jesus is sharing this theological insight with His disciples: The seed is the same, the function of the sower is the same, but the condition of the soil changes.
That tells me we cannot assume that just because a child is present during our lesson, that the child’s faith is growing. If we make this assumption for too long in our children’s ministries, we will end up with nothing more than a party zone. Children today are embracing the theology and worldview being presented each week, and it will become the baseline for how they shape the children yet to be born.
So, what do we do?
Consider the four key ingredients below to ensure the “soil” is rich for growing the seeds of faith.
Leaders need to move beyond telling the facts of the story in Scripture and begin to help the children see their Heavenly Father and the relationship He desires with them. This is more than a list of good behaviors. It is seeing how God goes first to bless us and we live in response to bless others as a result.
Experience Individual Outcomes
As a ministry grows, it has a natural tendency to become more a “spiritual factory” than a “custom shop” for spiritual growth. It becomes far easier to create an environment where kids are spectators of the Gospel presentation than it is to fully engage every child in the learning process.
This takes some time and practice, but it’s not impossible to achieve. By utilizing classroom or small group experiences as part of your overall ministry strategy, kids are given the opportunity to be involved in personalized growth.
Expand Their Thought Process
Children don’t need access to more information. They need the ability to think critically about the information they already have and ask questions such as: What does it say? What is being left out? Can I trust the author? Are there different points of view? How does this translate to the Word of God?
In order to help kids to become critical thinkers, we must also have a solid understanding of a biblical worldview. This helps in moving from knowledge to understanding.
Pastor Kids Relationally
This challenge grows as the size of the ministry grows and as more and more of the programming must fit within specific time constraints. Every child should hear their name called by a leader each week. In addition, each child should have their name called out to God in prayer by a leader or parent in the church. This is the beginning of building a strong relational foundation.
When you combine these elements, you will have built a DEEP ministry for the seeds of faith, a ministry where children Discover God, Experience Individual Outcomes, Expand Their Thought Process, and are Pastored Relationally.
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