Children’s Sunday school experiences likely shape their tenure in the preteen and teen ministries. The seeds that children’s ministry teachers and parents sow now have the potential to spring up in a harvest of . . . what? How can you ensure that the kids get the most out of their experiences each Sunday?
Paradigm Shift: The Children’s Ministry is not a Babysitting Service
Whether you are a parent or Kingdom Kids teacher, understand that the children’s ministry is not a babysitting service. The goal of this ministry is not to keep kids quiet so that their parents can enjoy the service. Rather, the goal is to actively partner with parents to teach youngsters of all ages about their faith.
Prepare the Kids in Word . . .
As a parent, ensure success by praying for the child’s Kingdom Kids class, the child’s friends in that class and the teachers. Doing so with the child ensures that the youngster recognizes that s/he is part of a ministry. As a teacher, pray for each child by name. Remembering them in prayer on a regular basis helps you to see them through spiritual eyes rather than just as the “kids you teach” every other Sunday.
. . . And Deed
Starting in first grade, children should bring a Bible to Sunday school. If we train the children at this age to come to church prepared, it will not be an uphill battle in the preteen and teen ministries. The same is true for the offering. Children as young as kindergarten age can understand that bringing a monetary offering to God is one way of honoring Him. Ignore this valuable teaching opportunity at your own risk.
Foster Relationship Building in the Class
Electronics have wormed their ways into the Kingdom Kids classes. Nothing is more toxic to building relationships between children than game devices. We strongly discourage the use of electronic games in the children’s ministry classroom simply because the kids will stop talking to one another and instead become glued to their tiny screens in a zombie-like fashion. Considering that this is the only time for many of the kids to spend time with the children of other disciples, make the most of it by leaving the electronics at home. (Pretend it is the 1980s; have them talk to each other!)