Category Archives: Encouragement For Children's Ministers

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.

Seven Ways to Know You’re Spiritually Dehydrated

Jeremiah 2:13 (NKJV)  For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.

As children’s pastors, it’s important to keep filling ourselves up. If we continue to pour out without pouring in, we can become spiritually dehydrated and start drinking from broken cisterns. Broken cisterns are things that satisfy us or keep us going for the moment but don’t fill us up or satisfy our thirst. We need instead to drink living water.

Here are 7 ways to know you are spiritually dehydrated.

You have disengaged. Church life is meant to do together. When we are drinking from the living waters of the Holy Spirit, we will want to engage with the church body. When we disengage from the body of Christ, it’s one sign we are spiritually dehydrated.

Your emotions are blunted. If you seem to be in a daze, and you don’t feel the presence of God anymore, that is a sign you might be spiritually dehydrated.

You’ve lost your hope. What do you put your hope in when you wake up in the morning? What are you looking forward to? If you can’t answer, you may be spiritually dehydrated.

You feel helpless. Depression is widespread in our culture today. We now know that most depression has a physical component to it. If you feel helpless and depressed, you should see a medical professional. That being said, the more you are spiritually dehydrated, the more you are susceptible to feeling of hopelessness and depression.

You don’t want to spend time reading your Bible, praying, or worshiping. It becomes a chore. That is a sign of being spiritually dehydrated.

You don’t have any joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. If your joy has been sapped, it shows you need to be filled from the living fountain.

You are going through the motions. All of the things above can cause us to lose out sense of purpose. When that happens, you can come to the place where you are running on empty. You need your spirit refreshed with living waters from the throne room of God.

What to do if you are spiritually dehydrated:

First admit the truth to God, yourself, and your spiritual leaders or mentors. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Many spiritual leaders have gone through this dark night of the soul. I have. That’s why I can show you what to do. After your leaders know the situation and are covering you in prayer, ask God to fill you with His living waters. Ask Him to fill the dry places of your soul. Spend time saturating yourself in the presence of God. Play worship music. And wait. It might take some time, but God will fill you to overflowing.

Acts 3:19 (NKJV) Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.

John 7:38 (NKJV) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (NKJV)  For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 5:18 (NKJV)  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

How to Start a Ministry Journal and Why You Should

Psalm 119:18  Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

2018 is upon us, and one of the greatest things you can do this year is to start a ministry journal. Ministry journals are different than personal journals. You can use them to record valuable information every time you minister. Whatever you want to remember, what you want to improve, how your students responded, etc., you will end up forgetting as soon as life takes over. With a ministry journal, you can look back and refresh those moments.

You can start a ministry journal online and use your phone or IPad immediately after service or you can carry a journal to church. Every time you minister, write in the journal within one hour of service. You don’t have to write a lot, but the information gleaned from these observations will become invaluable to you throughout the year.

Here are some ideas of things to write in your journal:

Successes: Write down any successes such as salvations, a record number of people, responses to the message, etc.

What Worked: If you used an object lesson or a song that really went over well, write it down along with why you think it worked.

Challenges: If anything went wrong or you saw something that needed improved, write it down.

Failures: If you believe you failed in some way, write it down. But don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead write down why it failed and go on.

General Impressions: Write down any general impressions you had about the service.

Review what you wrote later in the week. Don’t read your notes on Monday or you’ll become discouraged. But latter in the week, around Wednesday, read your notes about Sunday and see what you can glean from them.

Review your journal quarterly. Read about your successes and record salvations and testimonies to share with the church. Read the failures and challenges to see if you’ve made progress in those areas and what you need to do to improve.

New Years Resolutions for Children’s Pastors

Here are some New Years Resolutions for Children’s Pastors to consider making.

1  I will make my relationship with God a greater priority than the ministry God has given me. I do this knowing I can’t introduce children to God when I don’t spend any time with Him.

2 I will be filled with joy this year knowing that the Joy of the Lord is my strength.

3 I will ask God to help me love children who irritate me and cause behavior problem with the same love He has for them.

4 I will first ask for a revelation from God before I deliver any lesson or message to my students.

5 I will pray and seek God’s guidance in what direction to go in my ministry instead of just jumping on board the latest fad I learned at a conference. I will seek God for a word and make sure I focus on that word throughout the year.

6 I will review policies and procedures to make sure students in my ministry are in a safe environment.

7 I will disciple my workers and develop a children’s ministry team instead of being a Lone Ranger in ministry.

8 I will provide opportunities for children to experience God by giving them opportunities to minister, emphasizing worship and discipleship, and providing altar ministry at the end of every message.

9 I will not teach children to be good. I will teach them to know God. There’s a difference.

10 I will evaluate every area of my ministry to see if it follows the other nine resolutions. This may mean we play less games or get rid of snack time. It might mean replacing a teacher who “doesn’t get it.” I might need different curriculum. I might need to nix some “sacred cow” programs. Whatever I need to do, I will make the difficult choices.