Are You Discipling Your Students?

Paul is prepared for children’s church every week. The children are excited and can’t wait to see what he has planned. They have fun playing the elaborate games. They ooh and ahh over the gospel illusions and creative object lessons. They love the motions to the activity songs. It’s even fun listening to the illustrated Bible stories.

However, Paul is frustrated because the children in his children’s ministry don’t really grow spiritually. Week after week they come and enjoy themselves. Paul doesn’t seem to be making a lasting impact upon their lives, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

Jim also uses games, gospel illusions, and creative teaching techniques, but the children in his ministry are growing spiritually. Brittany’s mom came to him last week to thank him. Brittany went to her mom after being convicted in children’s church for being disrespectful and asked her mother’s forgiveness.

Tommy led four of his classmates to the Lord and brings visitors almost every week. Kyle asked Jim last week if there was anything he could pray with him about. He told Jim that he felt led by God to be a prayer support for him. When an altar call is given, children swarm to the altar to pray for other children who go to the altar.

What makes the difference between Paul’s and Jim’s ministries? They both do pretty much the same thing in children’s church. They spend the same amount of time preparing and praying. But there’s a major difference in the children. The reason is that Jim disciples the children. Paul teaches a lesson every week, but he’s more concerned with entertaining the children than discipling them.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV) says “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

A pastor’s primary job is, not to preach, but to prepare God’s people for works of service. In other words, a pastor’s primary responsibility is to disciple his congregation to do ministry. If that’s true, then a children’s pastor’s primary responsibility is to disciple or prepare children to do ministry.

Here are three steps you can take to disciple the children in your ministry:

Disciple children in prayer. Teach your children to pray. Then let them have opportunities to pray. Too often we let children pray, and we comment on how cute their prayers are. When we do that, we reduce their prayers to entertainment. We should be teaching are children how to reach heaven with their prayers. We should be encouraging them to pray every day, and we should give them something to pray about.

When I need healing, I ask children to lay hands on me and pray for my body. I teach them scriptures to pray over me. When I need encouragement, I ask children to pray for me. When I need wisdom, you guessed it, I ask children to pray for me. I teach them how to pray, what scriptures to use, and then I ask them to pray. I don’t ask them to pray because it’s cute or because that’s just what we do. I ask them to reach heaven for me.

Disciple children in evangelism. Teach your children to witness. Teach them to share the message. Teach them the scriptures to use. Give them illustrations to use when they witness. Then take them places where they can have the opportunity to share their faith.

One easy tool to help children learn to witness is the witness bracelet. You can purchase these or have the children make them. Just like the wordless book, they use colors convey salvation. Yellow represents heaven where God lives and wants us to someday live. Black represents the sin that stops us from living with God in heaven. Red is the blood of Jesus that was shed for our sins. White means that, if we ask Jesus to forgive us, He will cleanse us as white as snow. Green means we need to grow in our faith.

There are many places you can go to give children an opportunity to share their faith. You can have them help with a benevolence ministry, or take them to a nursing home, or you can take them to the park for a day, instructing them to look for opportunities to witness.

Disciple children in service. Many in the church have the habit of telling children to sit and be quiet until they’re eighteen years old. Then when they reach adulthood, the same people will complain that all they do is sit in the pews and listen. If we are to disciple a generation to serve God, we need to start when they are young.

Think about the things that need to be done in your children’s ministry. Do you need someone to run the sound? Train a group of children to do it. Do you need people who are gifted in helps to take attendance, check children in, set up chairs, and tear down after church? Again, train children to do it.

The opportunities for children to serve in the church are only limited by your understanding of how much a child is capable of doing. I have used children for sound, Power Point, registration, praise and worship leaders, altar workers, skits, object lessons, puppets, monitors, and many other things. I’ve even had eleven and twelve year olds preach for me in children’s church. You heard me right. They preached. Those children are now adults who are in full time ministry.

There are other areas that children can be discipled in also. The only limitations are the ones we choose to place on our children. When they are discipled in ministry, something amazing happens. Children grow closer to God. They learn to listen for His voice. They learn that God can use them. He has a plan for their lives. So which are you doing? Are you entertaining children or are you discipling them?

Is Your Children’s Ministry Teaching Universalism

Universalism is one of the greatest threats to Christianity in our time. Universalism believes almost everyone is going to Heaven. Hell either only exists for really bad people like Hitler, or it doesn’t exist at all.

The Bible clearly teaches Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no-one goes to the Father except through Him. Universalism declares the Bible is inspired by God but not God-breathed. They believe parts like like loving your neighbor, but those parts about Hell and immorality they consider old concepts that are to be dismissed.

God does love mankind. That’s why He died on the cross for our sins. But He is a holy and just God who can’t allow sin. That’s why Jesus died for our sin. Most children’s pastors don’t believe universalism, but they have allowed some of it to creep into their ministries.

Here are some of the ways to know if universalism has crept into your children’s ministry and your church.

Doctrine is not taught. Children grow up not knowing doctrinal truths or why they believe what they believe. We teach cool lesson and play fun games instead of teaching what the Bible says. They are taught they should love God and others, but without doctrinal truths to build their faith on, they will be swayed by any lie. It’s not that we can’t ever have fun games or teach the Bible in cool ways, but we need to teach doctrine.

Children are taught to be good. There’s nothing wrong with teaching children our values, but if we teach them the goal is to be good or good enough, we’re teaching them another way of salvation other than through Jesus Christ. We’re teaching them we can be good enough on our own. If we introduce them to Christ, He will convict and convince them when it comes to morality.

Children aren’t taught to memorize Scripture. Remember in the past, during Sunday School, where we would get prizes for memorizing Scripture. Teachers drilled the Word of God into the hearts of children so they would know the truth when a lie was presented. When we don’t expect children to read of memorize Bible verses, they won’t know the truth. It isn’t unreasonable to expect them to learn Scripture when teachers expect hours of homework every night.

Being successful in the world has become more important than following after God. When we keep children home from church to do their homework or to play a sport, aren’t we doing that? The church community used to be important to Christians. It was what the early church was built upon. Now we teach children church isn’t that important. If church isn’t important, children will come to believe God isn’t important.

Evangelism isn’t stressed. The martyrs of the early church died to share the Gospel of Christ. It is sometimes said the church was built on the blood of the saints. Many churches never mention the martyrs, even the ones in the Bible. They encourage children not to talk about Christianity, or they teach that we all worship the same God. We don’t.

Children aren’t included in prayer and worship. It used to be children were included when a church had a prayer meeting or a worship night. They were taught how to pray and expected to pray, and they were expected to worship during worship times. Now, they never have the opportunity in church to pray for anyone, and if they ever are in the main service, they sit or play during worship time instead of being encouraged to participate.

These are some of the ways children’s ministries and the church have failed children. Is it any wonder they fall away when they’re older. They never knew the real Christ to begin with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How Universalism Has Crept into Children’s Ministry

Universalism is one of the greatest threats to Christianity in our time. Basically it is hypergrace that states you don’t really need to accept Jesus as your Savior. Almost everyone is going to Heaven. Hell either only exists for people like Hitler, or it doesn’t exist at all.

The way universalism gets away with this even though the Bible clearly teaches the truth, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no-one goes to the Father except through Him, is to declare the Bible is not really God’s Word. Parts of it are good like loving your neighbor, but those parts about Hell and immorality are old concepts. The people who wrote the Bible were a part of their culture and didn’t know better.

Here are some of the ways it has crept into children’s ministry and the church.

We don’t teach doctrine. Children grow up not knowing doctrinal truths or why they believe what they believe. We teach cool lesson and play fun games instead of teaching what the Bible says. They are taught they should love God and others, but without doctrinal truths to build their faith on, they will be swayed by any lie. It’s not that we can’t ever have fun games or teach the Bible in cool ways, but we need to teach doctrine.

We teach children to be good. There’s nothing wrong with teaching children our values, but if we teach them the goal is to be good or good enough, we’re teaching them another way of salvation other than through Jesus Christ. If we introduce them to Christ, He will convict and convince them when it comes to morality.

We don’t require children to memorize the Bible. Remember in the old days during Sunday School where we would get prizes for memorizing Scripture. Teachers drilled the Word of God into the hearts of children so they would know the truth when a lie was presented. We don’t expect children to read of memorize Bible verses when teachers expect hours of homework every night from them.

We teach children success is more important than God. When we keep children home from church to do their homework or to play a sport, aren’t we doing that? The church community used to be important to Christians. It was what the early church was built upon. Now we teach children church isn’t that important.

We teach children evangelism isn’t important. The martyrs of the early church died to share the Gospel of Christ. It is sometimes said the church was built on the blood of the saints. Now, we teach children not to talk about Christianity. We don’t want to offend anyone.

We don’t teach children to pray. It used to be children were included when a church had a prayer meeting. They were taught how to pray and expected to pray. Now, they never have the opportunity in church to pray for anyone.

These are some of the ways children’s ministries and the church have failed children. Is it any wonder they fall away when they’re older. They never knew the real Christ to begin with. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3 Ways to Disciple Children

Paul is prepared for children’s church every week. The children are excited and can’t wait to see what he has planned. They have fun playing the elaborate games. They ooh and ahh over the gospel illusions and creative object lessons. They love the motions to the activity songs. It’s even fun listening to the illustrated Bible stories.

However, Paul is frustrated because the children in his children’s ministry don’t really grow spiritually. Week after week they come and enjoy themselves. Paul doesn’t seem to be making a lasting impact upon their lives, and he doesn’t know what to do about it.

Jim also uses games, gospel illusions, and creative teaching techniques, but the children in his ministry are growing spiritually. Brittany’s mom came to him last week to thank him. Brittany went to her mom after being convicted in children’s church for being disrespectful and asked her mother’s forgiveness.

Tommy led four of his classmates to the Lord and brings visitors almost every week. Kyle asked Jim last week if there was anything he could pray with him about. He told Jim that he felt led by God to be a prayer support for him. When an altar call is given, children swarm to the altar to pray for other children who go to the altar.

What makes the difference between Paul’s and Jim’s ministries? They both do pretty much the same thing in children’s church. They spend the same amount of time preparing and praying. But there’s a major difference in the children. The reason is that Jim disciples the children. Paul teaches a lesson every week, but he’s more concerned with entertaining the children than discipling them.

Ephesians 4:11-12 (NIV) says “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

A pastor’s primary job is, not to preach, but to prepare God’s people for works of service. In other words, a pastor’s primary responsibility is to disciple his congregation to do ministry. If that’s true, then a children’s pastor’s primary responsibility is to disciple or prepare children to do ministry.

Here are three steps you can take to disciple the children in your ministry:

Disciple children in prayer. Teach your children to pray. Then let them have opportunities to pray. Too often we let children pray, and we comment on how cute their prayers are. When we do that, we reduce their prayers to entertainment. We should be teaching are children how to reach heaven with their prayers. We should be encouraging them to pray every day, and we should give them something to pray about.

When I need healing, I ask children to lay hands on me and pray for my body. I teach them scriptures to pray over me. When I need encouragement, I ask children to pray for me. When I need wisdom, you guessed it, I ask children to pray for me. I teach them how to pray, what scriptures to use, and then I ask them to pray. I don’t ask them to pray because it’s cute or because that’s just what we do. I ask them to reach heaven for me.

Disciple children in evangelism. Teach your children to witness. Teach them to share the message. Teach them the scriptures to use. Give them illustrations to use when they witness. Then take them places where they can have the opportunity to share their faith.

One easy tool to help children learn to witness is the witness bracelet. You can purchase these or have the children make them. Just like the wordless book, they use colors convey salvation. Yellow represents heaven where God lives and wants us to someday live. Black represents the sin that stops us from living with God in heaven. Red is the blood of Jesus that was shed for our sins. White means that, if we ask Jesus to forgive us, He will cleanse us as white as snow. Green means we need to grow in our faith.

There are many places you can go to give children an opportunity to share their faith. You can have them help with a benevolence ministry, or take them to a nursing home, or you can take them to the park for a day, instructing them to look for opportunities to witness.

Disciple children in service. Many in the church have the habit of telling children to sit and be quiet until they’re eighteen years old. Then when they reach adulthood, the same people will complain that all they do is sit in the pews and listen. If we are to disciple a generation to serve God, we need to start when they are young.

Think about the things that need to be done in your children’s ministry. Do you need someone to run the sound? Train a group of children to do it. Do you need people who are gifted in helps to take attendance, check children in, set up chairs, and tear down after church? Again, train children to do it.

The opportunities for children to serve in the church are only limited by your understanding of how much a child is capable of doing. I have used children for sound, Power Point, registration, praise and worship leaders, altar workers, skits, object lessons, puppets, monitors, and many other things. I’ve even had eleven and twelve year olds preach for me in children’s church. You heard me right. They preached. Those children are now adults who are in full time ministry.

There are other areas that children can be discipled in also. The only limitations are the ones we choose to place on our children. When they are discipled in ministry, something amazing happens. Children grow closer to God. They learn to listen for His voice. They learn that God can use them. He has a plan for their lives. So which are you doing? Are you entertaining children or are you discipling them?

3 Questions to Ask When Preparing Your Kidmin Children’s Ministry Lesson

The most effective lessons are the ones learned by the teacher/pastor first. Here are three questions to ask yourself when preparing a lesson for your students.

What difference does this Bible truth make in my own life?

What must I do to incorporate that Scripture into my everyday experience?

What shall I share from my own spiritual life that will help clarify those Biblical truths to my students?

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