Many years ago while attending seminary I was fortunate to be in a class that focused on youth ministry. The professor caught my attention the first day when he said that if you are taking the class to be a “pastor in waiting”, get out! The man truly saw the need of ministering to youth and not just using the position as a way up the ministerial ladder. After being under his tutelage, I have adopted his concept for not only youth but for both preschool and children’s ministry. I just have adopted it to meet that particular age group. These principles are true today just as they were back then.
The role of ministering to preschoolers and children takes on three points to a triangle. The most important work we do is with the children. That is why we have been sent to serve them. They are the apex of it all. We are there to help mold them in God’s image.
But the two other corners to the triangle are just as vital. Many church leaders overlook them in the haste to meet the needs of the children. Any oversight in these other areas will greatly affect the ministry to your children.
The first angle is that of the role of parents or guardians. These are the most influential adults in a child’s life. If we do not spend any time supporting them and encouraging them, we miss out on an unfilled ministry to not only the child but to the whole family. What are you doing to strengthen their home environment? How can you reach out to these adults?
The last but not the least corner is that of the adults in your church who minister to these children. They are giving of their valuable time to make a difference in the lives of these young people. These volunteers need to know you have their support. Are you meeting regularly to share concerns about them as well as the children? Have you lined up any training opportunities to enhance their roles as leaders in the children’s ministry? What are the ways you are saying “thank you” to them for their tireless efforts? Any good worker needs to feel that their efforts are noticed and appreciated by the church.
When your church decides to reach and teach preschoolers and children for the Kingdom’s work, be sure to get all the angles right. The stronger each area is the stronger the whole becomes.
Our guest writer this week is Steve Zimmerman. Steve (lives in Danville) is the founding partner of the Barnabas Partnership. He and his other partners have been doing short-term ministry support activities for Baptist churches across the South since 2009. To learn more about their work, check them out at www.barnabaspartnership.com.