Ministry for Kids by Kids – part 1

I love being involved in children’s ministry, but I am not a children’s pastor.  At my church I’m simply a volunteer.  Truth be told, I probably spend a lot more time in children’s church than I do in big church.  I know that’s where God wants me to be.  To me, there’s just no other ministry that’s as important as the children’s ministry.

I’ve been involved in children’s ministry since I was 12.  It was joining my church’s puppet team that got me started.  At first I was just a puppeteer.  I had a certain interest in puppetry and definitely had some talent, so it was the perfect fit for me.  As I became an adult, I began using other creative ministry techniques and before I knew it, I was leading children’s church several times a month.  As I look back at this journey from puppeteer to children’s church leader, I can see how important it was that I was allowed to minister to other kids, while I was still a kid myself.

I hear a lot of church leaders talk about letting kids have the opportunity to serve in children’s church, but what does that really end up meaning?  We let them hand out construction paper and scissors, maybe they get to pass out juice boxes and animal crackers.  Those are important and necessary things, but these kids have God-given talents, skills and interests.  If we don’t give young people the opportunity to use their talents for the church, then they’re going to start using those talents for the world.  Is putting Goldfish crackers into paper cups really the best use of their gifts?

Not only do we need to create opportunities for these talents to be used in ministry, but we need to broaden our ideas about what talents can have a ministry impact.  It has been my experience that the church’s talent radar tends to zero in on one area…music.  Those who are musically talented join what many of us call a “worship team.”  As if music was the only way to worship.  For me, I think worship means taking the best of what I have to offer and focusing it on God.  Singing comes nowhere close to being the best I could give to God.  I’m a puppeteer, and for me, performing my puppets is worshiping God…on my knees, as a matter of fact.  Can a child lead other children to worship through a puppet song?  You better believe it.  Can a kid lead others to worship through a piece of art they created, like a drawing or painting?  Amen, brother, we’re preaching now!  Can a young person teach biblical truth through telling a story, or presenting a gospel illusion to the class?  100% yes!  What they need from us, the leaders, is the opportunity.

Now I see those lightbulbs above your heads starting to glow.  Think of all the extra help I’ll have in children’s church with kids doing the drama, kids doing puppets, kids doing object lessons!  Sure, the extra help is great, but that’s not the main goal.  What should we have in mind when allowing kids to minister to their peers?

–          Discipleship

Much of my knowledge of God and the Bible comes from all those songs and skits I worked on as a member of the puppet team.  Ask me to name the 10 commandments in order and my brain immediately goes to one of the first puppet songs I ever performed, which was about the “Perfect 10.”  As kids work on how they will present a certain message, that message has an even greater impact on their own spiritual journey.

–          Opportunity to expand God-given talents

Have you ever met someone who was just a “natural.”  They were born to sing, or born to teach, or born to fix leaky faucets.  Whatever it is, they’re good at it, and they love doing it.  No matter what that ability happens to be, that skill is going to stall if the person never has the opportunity share it with others. As children’s ministry leaders, we can give kids those opportunities.   When kids are given the chance to use their God-given talents, they become confident in their abilities.  They also become anxious to take on new challenges.  God uses that to expand their talents and to get His work done.

–          Give opportunity to learn new skills

There may be a in your children’s church who could be really good at doing gospel magic tricks.  He just doesn’t know it yet.  I mean, let’s face it, doing gospel magic tricks isn’t something that many young people aspire to.  It’s a little unusual.  So are a lot of the techniques we use in children’s ministry.  Don’t just wait for God to send you a gospel magician, or an actor, or a puppeteer, or whatever.  Start to teach the kids new skills and soon you’ll be amazed at what they are able to do.

–          Develop of Heart for Ministry

Ever wish there were more people in your church who had the same passion for children’s ministry that you do?  I think every children’s worker wishes that.  It’s been true for me and I think it’s true for many others…kids who serve in the children’s ministry become adults who serve in the children’s ministry.  One of my greatest thrills in recent years has been to see young people who I first met as teenagers attending a puppet ministry festival, now, 10+ years later, becoming children’s pastors.  Believe it or not, when we give kids the opportunity to minister, we are beginning the ministry to the next generation, including those who haven’t even been born yet.

I want to spend some time over the next several posts looking at several different ideas for ways we can involve kids in ministry.  There are many areas, far more than my limited brain capacity could ever come up with.  Hopefully some readers will share some of their ideas as we move forward.  In our next post, though, we’ll look at the area of ministry that has meant so much to me, and thousands of other young volunteers…the puppet team!

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2 Responses to “Ministry for Kids by Kids – part 1”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Great points. Thanks and God bless.

  2. The Children’s Ministry Blog Patrol (April 2010) « Dad in the Middle Says:

    […] Part 1 […]

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