Kid’s church is a great place for a child to learn about God, Christ & faith. Obviously, as a children’s pastor, I wish that every kid had the opportunity to come to church to hear about God. In the end though, I know that a church service is only one of the many experiences that a child needs in order to grow in their relationship with Christ, and ultimately to have their faith stick with them for a lifetime.
What else do kids need to grow up following Christ into adulthood? Well, for one thing, opportunities to serve. Diana Garland in Inside Out Families writes,
Community service was significantly more closely related to the faith development of teens than attending worship services. Service appears to be more powerful than Sunday School, Bible study, or participation in worship in the faith development of teenagers.
Giving kids and youth the opportunity to live out their faith in practical service increases the likely hood that the child’s faith will stick with them for a lifetime. This is why I get so excited when parents get their kids involved in serving, and even more excited when parents serve with their kids.
At Calvary, we have a dad who has taken, or is going to take, all of his kids on their first missions trip with the church. We have a mom and daughter that volunteer in our wheelchair van ministry, faithfully serving together to go pick up our shut-ins for church on Sunday. We have had families that serve at the local soup kitchen, My Brother’s Table, together. Every year we have parents participate in our Christmas and Easter productions with their kids. All of these parents, and the dozens like them, are giving their kids a chance to grow in their faith outside the regular Sunday morning classroom.
I wonder if the statistics showing how many teens walk away from their faith after high school would diminish if every child were given opportunities to serve and put their faith into action? What would happen if parents invested the time and energy to get their kids plugged into church beyond the classroom?
“He [Christ] is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” – Paul in Colossians 1:28-29.
Photo courtesy of © flickr.com/photos/bpc009/3286015968/
Many churches are short-sighted. Many focus entirely on the number of people they can get out to church, and not on the spiritual growth of the people sitting in the pews. Don’t get me wrong, it is important to count how many people are coming out to church. As the old axiom goes, you should “Count people, because people count.” Every person is an eternal soul, and if the number of people coming out the church is not growing, or worse is getting smaller, then there is a problem. A large Sunday morning attendance though, is only a small part of the picture.
I don’t think Christ had a large group of uncommitted undiscipled believers in mind when he pictured His church. In fact, Christ always seemed to be running the uncommitted crowd away. Yet, many churches seem content with filled pews. They seem to think God is happy with a full church, yet Paul in Colossians 1 says that ultimately that is not what we are working towards.
“So that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.” That is the ultimate goal. Mature believers, that is what churches should be counting in addition to Sunday attendance. Not just how many people fill a pew, but also how many people are involved in ministry, how many people attend a small group, how many people are involved in personal evangelism, how many people are parenting their kids in a godly way, how many people are applying Biblical ethics in their marriage and their work, how many mature believers there are as a result of the church’s ministry.
It was to this end that Paul strenuously contended, and it should be the end that we work towards as well.
For the past 9 weeks we have been working through Faith Case: Investigating the Truth in Kid’s Church at Calvary, and it has been a great experience. This curriculum which walks through the 16 Fundamental Truths of the Assemblies of God in 12 lessons, has been engaging for the kids, easy to teach, and just might be some of the best curriculum to come out of AG headquarters.
One example of the kids liking it…. I was recently over at a family from the church’s house and asked the kids what they enjoyed most about KidZone. One kid gave me the typical “I love the games!”, another said she loved the songs (i.e. worship), but the third said she loved Mr. Trench from the videos. When she said she loved Mr. Trench from the FaithCase videos, both her siblings said “Oh yeah, we love him too!” I even pressed them to see if they remembered some of the lessons, and they were able to recall everyone of them that they were there for.
If you want to pick up a copy of Faith Case, it is available from Gospel Publishing (www.gospelpublishing.com) for $120.
A few weeks ago I wrote that Calvary had 465 people involved in ministry. Since that post the number has actually climbed to 473, but even more exciting is that one of those new volunteers signed up to work with kids. With this new recruit we now have exactly 100 people volunteering in children’s ministry at Calvary.
Some help with Sunday School or KidZone, some with Rangers or Girls Ministry, and a lot help with nursery, but we have 100 people who help out at least once a month (many actually serve every single week!).
Each week we have nearly 250 different kids who come through our church doors. This is obviously more kids than I could minister to by myself, so I am so appreciative of every single person who gives their times & gifts to serving our awesome kids!