Welcome to a continuing series of tips on working with large groups of children. I hope that you will find these tips useful and be able to implement them in your dealings with large groups of kids. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know. For a complete list of posts in this series, please see the index page. So, without further introduction, here is today’s installment.
Here are some things that Children’s Ministry should never be about.
- It is not about you and how good or fulfilled or powerful or influential it makes you feel to teach a bunch of kids.
- It is not about rote memorization of verses and stories and names and events.
- It is not about behavior modification or moral guidance or a set of rules.
All of these may, at some points, be part of your work in Children’s Ministry, but there is only one thing, one person, that it’s really all about. It’s all about Jesus! Every story, every lesson, every song, and every game – it should be, is and must be all about Jesus. It’s about a plan hatched before the creation of the world. It’s about our God who took on human flesh and came and lived amongst the filth of his creation. It’s about a birth in a manager, a crucifixion on a cross and an empty tomb. It’s about a resurrection and an ascension and a second coming. It’s about victory over sin and death. It’s about eternal life in the presence of our Maker. At its very core, Children’s Ministry is all about Jesus, and that’s the way it must be!
I believe that everything in the Bible is either about Jesus, points to Jesus, or emanates from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the sum and substance of the Bible. Every time you prepare a lesson, you should prepare it with a critical eye towards where Jesus shows up in the story. At every turn, you must ask yourself, where is Jesus in this story? In the story of Cain and Abel, figure out where Jesus is and make sure you convey that (Jesus was the ultimate brother’s keeper). In the story of Ruth, you must ask yourself, what does this have to do with Jesus (God’s providence in the family line of Jesus)? When you teach the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, remember who the fourth person in the fiery flame was. And, the list goes on and on.
When we lose sight of Jesus in teaching kids, we miss our principal objective. This results in several potential outcomes – none of which are good. One potential outcome is that we end up teaching kids a whole bunch of stories that they receive similar to those they see on the cartoon network or in Saturday morning cartoons. The Bible ends up being reduced from the very Word of God to a child’s fable in their minds. Another potential outcome is that your lessons end up teaching kids a set of good rules for moral living and miss the grace of God. Working with children is not about changing behaviors, it’s about changing lives! In order to be effective both in life and in Children’s Ministry, we must strive to never lose sight of Jesus!