You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11 ESV
Every year, I ask God for a Word for the year. In 2021, the word was “Get Ready”. Considering all the challenges 2021 held, it was a timely word. Sometimes, I struggle to receive the word God wants to give me because so many things distract me. Other times, God gives me the word fairly quickly. I’ve never experienced a word like I did this time. The word God gave me was like a neon sign. Everywhere I looked, I saw the word. Every sermon I listened to and almost every song I heard had the word. It was even written as notes in Christmas cards I received.
The word I received is JOY. 2022 will be a year of JOY. I speak JOY over each of you, your students, and your ministry.
I am looking forward to 2022 in a new way knowing the LORD will fill us to overflowing with His Joy. That doesn’t mean there won’t be trials, but God will overwhelm us with supernatural joy through the trials.
I’m also looking forward to the plans I am currently working on for Revival Fire for Kids. In 2021, Power Tools, quarter 3 of Building Pentecostal Foundations children’s church curriculum, was published. This year, I will be diligently working on quarter 4 as well as holiday curriculum and other resources.
Revival Fire for Kids is fully open, and we’d love to come to your church for a children’s revival, kid’s crusade, teacher training, or children’s ministry consultation. Please contact me at this email if you are interested in learning more.
I’m also starting a new networking for children’s ministers called Ignite. It will be on a monthly subscription with Zoom meetings with other children’s ministers, private Zoom calls, free resources (including curriculum), and monthly teacher training for church children’s ministries as well as opportunities for online Bible studies and yearly retreats. There will be multiple levels to sign up for depending on your needs, and the first month will be free so you can try it out with no obligation. If you have a children’s ministry consultation with me, you’ll receive the advanced level subscription one year for free. I’ll let you know more within the next month or two, and I’ll have a special Zoom info meeting about it. I just wanted to let you know what is coming.
Remember, 2022 will be a year filled with Joy!
I took a Bible class a while ago where I was assigned to write an Epistle to the Church. An Epistle is a letter from an Apostle. I felt so strongly about what I wrote that I wanted to share it. It truly is from my heart and I believe from the heart of God.
My Epistle to the Church
by Tamera Kraft
Dear brothers and sister in Christ. I, Tamera Kraft, apostle to children, greet you as a servant of God called to a ministry that is at the very heart of God – children.
Throughout Scripture, God speaks about the importance of ministry to children. Jesus even rebuked His disciples when they tried to keep children away from Him. In His admonition to Peter, He instructed Peter to feed His sheep twice, but He before He mentioned the sheep, Jesus commanded Peter to feed His lambs, to minister to His children.
One reason children are so important to the heart of God is because they represent the way we should come to God, with humility and dependence. Children depend on adults for everything. Without adults to provide them with care and resources, they could not survive. They bring this same dependence into their relationship with God.
Children are the largest harvest field in the Kingdom of God. According to Brother Barna, 85% of all people who have accepted Christ as their Savior have surrendered their lives to Christ between the ages of four and fourteen. The 15% of the Christian population that has come to know Christ is the exception to the rule and should be considered miracles by the grace of God. Yet many churches put most of their evangelistic efforts and resources into reaching that 15% and ignore the children. This ought not to be. If God has ordained that most people who come to Him are children, we should be reaching out to lost children before we consider evangelizing adults. A whole generation of young adults is lost because, as children, the church didn’t make it a priority to reach them.
This can’t be done through games, fun Bible stories, and crafts alone, nor is teaching children how to be good enough. Children need to be taught that they have sinned and are separated from God forever. They need to be taught that God loves them and wants to restore that relationship. That’s why Jesus died on the cross for them. They need to repent of their sins, receive Jesus as their Savior, and surrender their lives to Him. Being good isn’t enough.
Once we understand the importance of children in the Kingdom of God, we must make special efforts to effectively minister to them. Our best leaders, facilities, resources, and curriculum should be dedicated to ministry to children. Parents play the largest role in discipling their own children, and the church should equip and encourage them to do that. But just as family is not the only resource to minister to adults, there should be church programs to minister to children as well.
Children need to learn the Gospel and be discipled in a way that reaches them at their age level. This doesn’t mean the Gospel should be watered down for children. Children can learn the great truths of the Bible if they are taught those truths in ways they can understand. Just as Jesus rode on a colt into Jerusalem, children can have the full weightiness and glory of God resting on them as children. This means children can be saved. They can be baptized and partake of communion. They can be filled in the Holy Spirit, and they can be full members of the community of God ministering and being ministered to. Children are not the church of tomorrow. They are the church of today. If they are discipled correctly, they will become the leaders of the church tomorrow.
One trend I’ve noticed in the church today is separating children from the community of believers. This should not be. Children need to know they are a part of the church. In the Bible, children were included in prayer meetings, fasts, and times of consecration and celebration. We need to do the same. During the Feast of Tabernacles, all of Israel would come before the Lord to hear the reading of the Law so that the children would hear it and learn to fear the Lord. In Paul’s letters to the Ephesians, he gave instructions directly to the children to obey their parents. He considered them a part of the church that he was writing to.
One of the main reasons, children are not ever included in the main service is for convenience sake. Parents don’t want to deal with disruptions their children might cause, and pastors and church members don’t want children “ruining” the service with too much noise. But children are a part of the church, and they need to be taught how to behave in the main service. How will they know what is expected or participate in the body if they are never discipled in that area?
Another reason children need to be in the main service occasionally is because they are to be examples of worship. When the Pharisees rebuked Jesus for allowing children to praise Him in the temple, Jesus quoted Isaiah saying, “From the lips of infants and children, God has ordained praise.” The word “ordain” here means to lead or begin. How can children do this if they never worship with adults? Also children need to learn how to worship by watching the example of adults in worship. Children learn what they see adults doing.
Children who don’t feel like a part of the church community because they have never been included in the body will leave church when they’re older. Imagine the culture shock of a child who has been in church all of his life but has never been in the main service. He has played games every Sunday, sang active songs, and had every message or Bible story illustrated with a skit, object lesson, or interactive device. Suddenly the child turns ten or twelve, or in some cases eighteen years old. He has graduated to big church. The music is strange. There are no games, skits, or illustrations, only some guy preaching that he’s never met. He doesn’t know any of the people. And there’s no candy. He has never become a part of the body.
Finally, let me encourage you to lead children into the presence of God through example, teaching, and experience. Children who experience a genuine salvation and revival in their hearts at a young age are transformed by being discipled in the Word of God and should become an active part of the body of Christ. These are the ones who will go on to do great things for God throughout their lives.
*Feel free to share this post on your blogs and social media, but please give me credit by pasting the following at the end of your posts.
Used by permission of Tamera Kraft, Revival Fire for Kids. Reprint from http://revivalfire4kids.com
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.