When it comes to our children’s education Guy and I can be real sticklers. If Grace comes home with a “B,” my husband is the first one to inquire what she missed that prevented her from getting an “A.” When we found out there were deficiencies with Gideon’s reading, you might as well have called us an army because the entire family (relatives included) went to war until we got our little soldier where he was supposed to be. Like most parents, we did this because we cared. Hands down our children’s academics are important to us. If you ask me, it’s important to most parents. I have yet to meet the parent that couldn’t care less about their child succeeding in school. But did you know there is something that’s even more important than that.
Just to be clear, I understand that children’s church is not the end-all-be-all for a child’s spiritual development. That job will always belong primarily to the parents. However, children’s church is a critical piece in the life of the church. It is a spiritual reinforcement provided by the church to specifically help kids grow in their faith. Just to be even more clear…It is NOT a babysitting service for grownups to utilize while they enjoy the “real” service over a hot cup of coffee. It is a strategic training ground for kids to learn how to become more like Jesus and at the end of the day, what’s more important than that. My point is this, as a new academic year is underway and parents are getting ready for the hustle and bustle their fresh schedules will bring, consider this…
“School is important to parents. It is the children’s ministry leader’s job to make sure children’s church is important to them as well.”
I have seen countless debates within the body of Christ regarding the significance of children’s church, youth ministry, or any child-targeted “church” activity, deeming such programs as unbiblical. But when it comes to children’s ministry and the role of a parent, it’s not either-or, it’s both-and. At the end of the day, the two are mutually reinforcing. Children’s church offers kids the opportunity to hear the word in age-appropriate ways and be cared for by others in such a way that meets their developmental needs. It invites them into a community with other like-minded kids their age. They get the chance to build trust with Christ-loving adults that aren’t the parents which research has proven is extremely important when it comes to kids coming back to the church after they age-out. On the other hand, no matter what you teach the kids on a Sunday or during mid-week programming, parents will always have home court advantage. Parents have the control over what they watch, who they hang out with, and the activities they’re involved in throughout the week. That includes your children’s church. This is why both are important.
The end game is not just to get parents to drop off their kids in the children’s ministry area of your church on a Sunday, but to use children’s church as a springboard that inspires parents to take responsibility for the spiritual development of their kids throughout the week. So how are you using your programming to communicate and partner with parents? How are you helping parents to practically reinforce the biblical principles you teach their children on Sundays at home?
Ultimately, spiritual development will ALWAYS be the most important thing in a child’s life. Not that A in science. Not that goal in soccer. Not that friend they made on the school playground. Not that breakthrough in reading. Are all of these things important? Absolutely! But they are all 2nd to the most important thing which is them growing in a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That is why children’s church exist…To help parents because we know there is no Jr. Holy Spirit and kids don’t have to wait until they are grownups to know God and walk in his ways. Because there is life and life more abundantly available to them right now! Because in their youth, they have the power to transform destinies! Moving forward, let’s do our part to make sure parents understand and value that.
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