Category Archives: Parents and Congregation

7 Ways to Partner with Parents in Children’s Ministry

24-1013tm-cart-professionalsOne of the keys to effective children’s ministry is partnering with parents to minister to their children. Here’s some ideas on ways to do that.

Communication: Communication is one of the key factors in partnering with parents. Most children’s ministries only communicate with the parents of their students to let them know about an upcoming event or program. This is not enough. If you truly want to communicate with parents, you need to let them know what’s going on in children’s ministry, what your goals and core values are, where you’re headed, and what you’re teaching. Newsletters, fliers, and bulletins are one way to do this, but they can’t be the only way. Communication, to be effective, needs the personal touch. Call the parents of your students or visit them. When you do talk to them, don’t only talk. Ask them what they would like to see as spiritual growth in their children. Communication is a two way street.

5c2ac-parent-meeting-2Use Parents On Your Leadership Team: One way to make sure parents are involved in children’s ministry is to have parents on your children’s ministry planning team. Sometimes they won’t be able to participate every week as workers, but by having parents on your planning team, you give them a voice.

Minister to Families: Sometimes we get so focused on children, we forget about families. Make focused efforts to include the entire family in some programs. You could have a parent/child banquet or include entire families in baby dedication. When a child is baptized or becomes a member of the church, find a way to include the family in the celebration.

Singing Hymns in ChurchInclude Children In Services: It is great to have children’s services where children can learn and worship on their own level. But if they’re never allowed in the sanctuary, never allowed to be a part of the congregation as a whole, they miss out on being mentored by their parents and elders in a worship setting. Find a way to include children in services sometimes. And when you do include them, give them opportunities to participate.

Give Parents and Children Opportunities to Minister: Does you church do fundraisers for missions, feed the hungry, or give out free school supplies. These are great opportunities for parents and children to minister along side each other.

Give Parents Resources: You told the parents what you’re teaching their Pray Computer Keys Showing Worship And Religionchildren. Also give them resources to share with their children at home. Devotional books like One Year Devo For Girls and One Year Devotions For Boys and a list scriptures and prayers that relate to the lessons are a great resource tool for parents.

Pray: Don’t just pray for the children in your children’s ministry. Pray for their families.

3 Things We Want for Our Children that are Wrong

Culture has invaded the church in so many ways that sometimes we get locked into certain phrases that sound good but go against the Word of God. Here are five of them.

God wants you to be happy. Parents and teachers don’t normally say this because it doesn’t sound spiritual, but they act like it is true. They encourage children to do things and follow paths that will make them happy. In a way, this is true. The problem lies with finding our happiness through the things of the world. The world can never satisfy us, and the happiness it gives is fleeting and depends on circumstances around us. God doesn’t want our children find their happiness in anything except for Him. God wants us to have the joy of the Lord because through that joy, we find strength and living water that will refresh us regardless of the circumstances.

Romans 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Being popular/successful/liked is important. We never tell our children this, but we all want our children to be successful. We encourage them to make the best grades, to go to the dances and proms, to play on the sports teams. We even encourage our children to do these that go against God’s Word to be popular. I’m sure many of you are thinking you would never do that. So let me ask you a few questions. Do you allow your child to play on a sports team that will consistently keep him out of church? Do you allow your child to read books, play video games, or watch TV programs that are popular yet have occult references or go against God’s Word in another way? Is your child allowed to spend the night at a friend’s house on Saturday night when it means not going to church? Have you ever kept your child home from church to do homework?Do you ever encourage your child not to make waves when the school or another secular activity is teaching him something contrary to God’s Word? There is nothing wrong with being popular, successful, or liked provided your children put God first and don’t pursue those things.

John 12:42-43 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.  

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a tservant of Christ.

A blue person stands out in a crowd holding a sign with the word God on it, spreading the holy teachings of the church and trying to convert others to a belief or faith

Follow your dreams/heart. The idea here is to encourage children to follow after what they want in life and to not let anything stop them. If we want our children to be committed to God, we need to teach them to seek what God wants for them, to follow God’s dreams and plans for their lives, and not to let anything stop them. We need to teach them to follow hard after God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

My Letter to the Church for 2016

WriteI took a Bible class recently 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.

Amen.

*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

4 Ways to Communicate with Parents

Online Marketing Signpost Shows Blogs Websites Social Media And Email Lists

Communication is one of the key factors in partnering with parents. Most children’s ministries only communicate with the parents of their students to let them know about an upcoming event or program. This is not enough.

If you truly want to communicate with parents, you need to let them know what’s going on in children’s ministry, what your goals and core values are, where you’re headed, and what you’re teaching. Not everyone communicates the same way, so you’ll need a variety of methods.

like master isolatedOne way to do this is through Social Media. A blog or website page can help parents know about upcoming events, but a Facebook Group will also let parents get involved in communicating.

Putting a paper in parents’ hands is another way to communicate. Computer technology makes it easy to create newsletters, fliers, and bulletins. You may want to not only pass these out to children to give to their parents, but also mail them to each parent.

Email, FB Messaging, and texting are another way to inform parents about what is going on. Have a sign-up sheet for parents to give you their information and which way they prefer to be notified.

PARENT MEETINGCommunication, to be effective, needs the personal touch. Call the parents of your students or visit them. When you do talk with them, don’t only talk. Ask them what they would like to see as spiritual growth in their children. Communication is a two way street.

5 Reasons Children Should Be in the Main Service Regularly

I am an advocator of children’s church. I always have been. It is important to have children’s services that appeal to their age group for a variety of reasons. That being said, there is a movement in many churches today to always have children separated from adults. Although children should have a children’s church where they can learn and worship God, they also need to regularly be in the main service with the rest of the church body.

What regularly means will vary from church to church. In the churches where I was on staff, it meant once a month and always in special services. Other churches, because of the complications involved, may elect to do it once a quarter. I don’t think it should ever be less than once a quarter.

Here’s 5 reasons I believe children should regularly be in the main service:

Children should not be removed from the main body for convenience sake. This is one reason churches remove children. They want a professional church service where adults can enjoy the worship without being disrupted by noisy children. This sounds good, but the Book of Acts never talks about having a professional service nor does the Bible talk about meeting our own selfish needs during church, but it does talk about children not being pushed aside.

Matthew 19: 14  Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Children are a part of the Body of Christ. There is nowhere in the Bible where it says children are a separate body. They are an important part of the church and shouldn’t always be excluded when the church meets.

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.

Children need Godly examples of how to worship. If children never see adults in the main service worshipping, they won’t know how to worship or what is expected of them.

Children need to feel like they are a part of the church community. If children are always separated from the body of Christ, they will never feel like they are a part of the church community. And the members of the church will never get to know the children and be an example to them unless they work in children’s ministry.

Children who don’t feel like a part of the church community 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 10, or 12, 0r in some cases, 18 years old. He has graduated to big church. The music is strange. There are no games, skits, or illustrations, only some guy he’s never met preaching for a half hour or longer. He doesn’t know any of the people. And there’s no candy.

Get the picture? That’s what happens to a child who is never in the main service. Within a few months, maybe even a few weeks, he decides he doesn’t want to be there. If his parents make him stay, he’ll leave as soon as he turns 18. If not, he’ll leave sooner.

He’ll look for a church that entertains him and isn’t boring. If he doesn’t find one, he’ll drop out of church. This may be why so many young people are no longer attending church. They never were a part of the church.