Category Archives: Discipling Children

9 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Have a Seeker Friendly Children’s Ministry

There’s a lot of discussion lately about seeker friendly churches. Many churches have adopted seeker friendly methods to reach unbelievers. Modern children’s ministry also tends to be seeker friendly in many of its methods. While not all seeker friendly methods are wrong, some have brought the church into the 21st century, there are some aspects that are troubling.

What is a Seeker Friendly Church?

Seeker friendly is a church model that emphasizes making unbelievers feel comfortable, having church services that are culturally relevant, and keeping things light and friendly. The idea is that unbelievers will come into the church, decide it’s cool, and eventually get saved.

In order to make this happen, seeker friendly churches will keep to a tight timeframe, play loud rock concert type music, keep the dress code casual, and serve coffee. The real problem comes when they stop talking about sin or anything that offends, keep the messages light instead of declaring the truth of God’s Word, and keep the worship from being too intense. The idea is that if we offend the unbeliever, he will leave without getting saved.

The problem with this is Christ is offensive to those who are dead in their sins, and salvation is not possible without repentance of those sins.

There are some elements of the seeker friendly model that work. After all, methods to reach people for Christ can change with culture. That’s why we flash words to songs on screens instead of using red hymnals, and there’s nothing wrong with coffee before church or contemporary music. But our message should never change. It should never be watered down to please the masses.

9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Have a  Seeker Friendly Children’s Ministry?

The seeker friendly model has invaded children’s ministry. Even churches that don’t have the seeker friendly model in big church, often times use it in their children’s ministries. Here are 9 reasons you shouldn’t have a seeker friendly children’s ministry:

1. Games are over the top are take the biggest section of children’s church. There is nothing wrong with games in children’s ministry, especially if they emphasize the lesson. But if the games have taken over the biggest part of your children’s church and are the main emphasis, something is wrong.

2. Entertainment is emphasized instead of teaching Biblical truths. There is nothing wrong with using entertaining skits, puppets, object lessons, gospel illusions, and other devices to teach Biblical truths. But when the fun element is more important then the Biblical truth, it becomes a problem.

3. Songs are upbeat and fun to sing, but children aren’t taught to worship. There used to be a children’s song ministry called Psalty the Songbook.  Psalty would remind kids, “You can sing Christian songs ’til you’re blue in the face, but if it’s not from your heart, it’s not praise.” Teaching children modern chorus with a loud beat and an upbeat tempo is not the same as teaching kids to praise.

4. Lessons are fun and catchy but don’t ever teach deep Biblical truths. Modern day curriculum is full of catchy titles and phrases that are culturally relevant. Most of them do teach a Biblical theme in five lessons. But we no longer teach children a methodical overview of deep Biblical truths. Children end up graduating from Children’s Church without any understanding of God’s truths or why they believe what they believe.

5. Children are taught God loves them but are never taught about sin, repentance, or taking up our cross and following Christ. There’s nothing wrong with teaching children God loves them. It is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. Because Christ loves us, He died a horrible death to free us from the bondage of sin. If we don’t teach children about sin and its cost and about what repentance really means, we can’t expect them to be real Christ followers who are willing to die to their own desires and be living sacrifices.

Some worry that children are too young for this kind of teaching, but Christian children throughout the ages have been taught this way, and some of them have been willing to die for Christ at a young age. Others have become prayer warriors, preachers, and evangelists as children.

6. Elaborate themes with flashy décor remind us more of Disney World than church. There is nothing wrong with a great set design or with elaborate themes. The problem is when we are trying to compete with Disney World. We have something to give our students that is so much better than Disney World. When we get a glimpse of that. The flashy décor won’t be the priority. It will only be an added accessory to an awesome life-changing message.

7. Children participate in fun but are not mentored to do ministry. So many children’s churches focus on entertaining children instead of mentoring them. When entertainment is the priority, children will grow up and leave the church when they find they can be entertained better elsewhere. Or they will stay in the church as adults warming the pews and waiting to be entertained. Children who are mentored and allowed to do ministry become connected to the church and to their walk with Christ in a way that will influence their entire lives.

8. Children are taught to be good, not godly. Repentance leading to salvation leading to discipleship will cause children to transform their lives to meet the “good” criteria of the Gospel. The inward change influences the outward acts. If we teach children to be good without that inward transformation, they learn that all they have to do is be good to go to Heaven. But they will never be good enough.

DSC_10889. Children are always separated from the “real” church. There are reasons behind this. Adults can have a good, entertaining worship experience without having to be bothered with unruly children. Children can be entertained and taught in age appropriate ways without having to listen to a sermon more geared toward adults.

There is nothing wrong with have separate classes for children at times, but if you never included them, they will not be a part of the church body. Church shouldn’t just be a meeting place. It is a body of believer, a family, that should be connecting together regardless of age. If you always make children feel like their not a part of the “real” church, they won’t stay when they’re older.

Another Ministry Model

Matthew 28:18-20  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Acts 2:46-47   Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsThere is another ministry model that will revolutionize your church and your children’s ministry. It’s the model used in the Book of Acts and is called the Discipleship Model.

The seeker friendly church emphasizes drawing in crowds, entertaining them so they will return, and getting them connected in the hope that one day they will give their lives to Christ.

The Discipleship Model church instructs, mentors, and makes disciple who will then go out into the world, share the Gospel, and make more disciples. The emphasis is on making disciples who go instead of drawing in unbelievers to make converts.

Jesus Needs Children

Jesus Needs Children

by Becky Fischer

Becky-on-horseyThis is my favorite picture of myself when I was a little girl. I was about five. The owner of this pony would lead it through neighborhoods and people would get their pictures taken. As a little girl I loved horses. This picture reminds me of the story in the Bible where Jesus told his disciples to “find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’

No One Wants an Unbroken Horse

Here in North Dakota a “colt which no one has ridden” means an “unbroken” colt. It can’t herd cattle. It can’t be used yet in rodeos. It can’t even be used for joy riding. In fact, you shouldn’t even ride young colts normally because you don’t want to damage their backs. The point is a “colt which no one has ridden” has no marketable value. If they sold it at the livestock ring, unless it had a good pedigree, you probably couldn’t get a lot for it.

Jesus Needs the Children

But Jesus instructed, “If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Sure enough, someone challenged the disciples when they tried to take it. But soon it was taken to Jesus. The disciples threw their mantles over the back of the colt. Jesus mounted it, and rode it through the infamous streets of Jerusalem.

This little colt can be compared to children—untrained, ill-equipped, those having no “marketable value” in the eyes of the world. But Jesus says, “I have need of them.” Jesus told his disciples to seek them out, and bring them to him. Today many will challenge people who try to train them in prayer, healing the sick, and in all other ways being used by the Master. But Jesus is still saying today, “I have need of them.”

Now, as then, we must not flinch in the face of confrontation, but rather throw our “mantles” of the apostolic, prophetic, evangelism, prayer, worship, and more over our children, and train and mentor them for the Masters use while they are still children.

*Printed by permission of Kids in Ministry International

Teaching Children about Heaven and Hell

Too many children’s pastors teach children about salvation and spending eternity in Heaven, but they leave something out. Jesus taught that those who accept Him as their Savior and follow Him will go to Heaven. But He also taught those who don’t accept Him will go to Hell. Unless we expect our students to all die before the age of accountability, we need to teach both.

On the other hand, scare tactics that convince children they might go to Hell if they snatch an extra cookie for dessert are not helpful in giving children a Biblical foundation.

Here are some things to keep in mind when teaching children about Heaven and Hell.

Heaven and Hell are real places.

John 14:2-3  My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Revelation 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

This is important because our society has such a misconception of Heaven and Hell, that children might get confused. The Bible teaches Heaven and Hell are real places where everyone will spend eternity.

God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell.

Revelation 20:10  And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Hell was created for the devil and his demons. God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell. That’s why He provided a way of escape, so that no one has to go there.

You can’t go to Heaven by being good.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many people have the false assumption that if they are good people, they will go to Heaven, and bad people will go to Hell. This isn’t true. Nobody is good enough for Heaven. Everyone deserves Hell.

Jesus died on the cross so we can go to Heaven and escape Hell.

John 3:16-18  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Children should be taught that Jesus is the only way to salvation and to Heaven. If a child has accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he is saved and will go to Heaven.

Getting right with God so we can go to Heaven is the most important thing in life.

Matthew 10:28  And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

This is a great opportunity to teach about martyrs of the Faith. Teach the children that these martyrs understood that serving God and going to Heaven is more important than even living. If that’s true, then our entire lives should be spent serving God.

We need to share the Gospel so people won’t go to Hell.

Revelation 20:15  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

When we teach children who know Christ as their Savior about Heaven and Hell, the next step is to teach them they need to share the truth with others. Anyone whose name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, will go to Hell.

Here are some online children’s lessons on Heaven and Hell:

Heaven Sunday School Lesson

Kid’s Sunday School Place – Heaven

Heaven and Hell Airplane Trick

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Teaching Kids about the Rapture and End Times

The first question I always get when I talk about teaching kids about the rapture is should we. After all, aren’t we scaring them when we teach them about the rapture and end times. If you don’t believe in the pre-trib rapture and the seven year tribulation, don’t bother to read on. Instead, I invite you to watch this video.

Here are some reasons I give about why we should teach our kids about the rapture.

Teaching about the rapture gives comfort and assurance.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (NIV)  Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

We need to teach children that they don’t have to be afraid of the turmoil going on around them. Jesus has promised to those who believe in Him to Heaven before it gets too bad. Teaching on the rapture doesn’t have to be scary for Christian kids. Instead it should be encouraging.

Those who study the Book of Revelation are promised a blessing.

Revelation 22:6-7  The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

This verse give a promise of blessing. Don’t we want our children to be blessed?

It’s in the Bible.

Psalm 34:11 (NIV)  Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Keeping children from knowing Biblical concepts set them up to not believe the entire Bible is for them or that it’s something that should be read and studied. Don’t wait until they are grown up to teach them difficult parts of the Bible or they might end up not believing any of it. Also if we don’t teach about the rapture of the church, there are many false Bible teachers willing to teach them that there will be no rapture.

We need to warn them.

Luke 21:36  Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

I’m not going to get into the age of accountability, although I believe there is one. The point is we need to warn children about the rapture because it will probably happen at some point in their lifetime. Whatever the age of accountability is, children will one day reach it and need to be right with God to go in the rapture.

Here’s a few lessons you can use to help teach children about the rapture:

Sunday School Lessons: Rapture Part 1 & 2

Bible Based Activity: The Rapture

Sunday School Lesson: Living With Hope

Rapture Lesson

Children who Ministered in the Bible

Here’s a list of children and teens who God used in great ways while the were young.

1 Kings 17:1-6 – God used a young girl who was a slave of Naaman, a Syrian captain, to tell him about God’s healing power and about the prophet Elijah.

Genesis 39 – Joseph was sold into slavery as a young teen, yet he lived for God in Egypt.

II Kings 22 – Josiah becomes king at the age of eight and is known for bringing Israel back in line with God’s Word.

1 Samuel 3 – Samuel served the Lord in the temple at the age of 3 and by the age of 7, delivered a Word from God to Eli.

1 Samuel 16-17 – David was anointed king and slew Goliath as a teenager.

Luke 2:41-53 – Jesus taught his elders in the temple at the age of 12.

Matthew 14:13-21 – A boy gives his lunch to Jesus to feed the multitudes.

2 Timothy 3:15 – Timothy served God and studied the Scriptures as a boy.

These are only a few examples of how God uses children in ministry. So why aren’t we training them to be leaders?