For the next few posts, I’m talking about why our children’s ministries today aren’t as effective as they once were. Today’s topic is segregation.
Children’s ministry is vital for a growing church. Children need a service they can call their own with ministry geared to their ages. But many large churches have taken this to a new level and now segregate children from all areas of congregational life. Some even segregate them until they reach 18 years old. Children not only aren’t heard in our churches, they’re very rarely seen.
Children are a part of the body of Christ and a vital part of the church community. Everyone benefits from children being seen and heard. That doesn’t mean they should always be on the pews beside their parents, but we need to include them.
Biblical Precedent: Children were a part of the community of believers in Biblical times. Whenever there was a celebration or a time of prayer, children were included. Here’s a few examples.
Joshua 8:34-35 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law–the blessings and the curses–just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.
Nehemiah 12:43 And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.
2 Chronicles 20:12-13 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.
Since it’s clear, God wants children to be a part of the church, the question becomes “how do we include them?” Every church is different, but here are a few ideas.
Have church services where children are included. Some churches have children in big church once a month. Other on special occasions. But there needs to be scheduled times where children are included. Children can sit in a group together or with their parents. A children’s sermon could be included, but it doesn’t have to be if the pastor will take special care to engage the children in his sermon.
Include children in celebrations. When the church has special events and parties, don’t segregate the children. Make special plans to include them so they feel like they’re a part of the church.
Have prayer meetings with children. Children can easily be taught how to pray, and with special coaching, should be included in prayer meetings.
Children can be a part of ministry. If you have outreaches and community service events, include the children to minister at these times. You can also have times where children are primarily the ministers such as special performances or services or have a project where they clean the church or raise funds for missionaries.
Have mentors for children. Older mentors can teach children the value of the entire church community and give them a sense of belonging.
How do you include children to be a part of your congregation? Leave comments with your ideas.