It’s time for another summary of a chapter from the book What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry. For her contribution, Liz Perraud chose the word “Community.” Liz Perraud really sums up the essence of children’s ministry with her introductory paragraph:
All the Bible stories, catchy songs, classroom creativity, and fun snacks don’t mean a thing without healthy Christ-centered relationships that connect our children to one another, to adults who care about them and to the God who loves them.
What we do should be all about relationships because God is all about relationships. As ministers to children, we must focus on:
- Kids’ relationships with God
- Kids’ relationships with one another
- Kids’ relationships with their leaders
The author very succinctly summarizes why these relationships are so important:
When children are part of a community that models unconditional love and acceptance, they have a glimpse of what it means to be loved by God. When children trust and commit to people whom they can see then they can begin to trust and commit to God whom they can’t see.
It is important that we, as ministers to children, present them with a community/culture different than the one that they see and live in everyday. As Ms. Perraud puts it:
Community has never been a greater need for children because of this “hurry-up-and-fit-it-all-in” culture. The church needs to do community well for it to make a difference.
Questions for further discussion
The stated purpose of this book is to spark further conversation. I have included some of my thought above, but like other chapters I have included a listing of additional questions to spark further conversation. Here are the questions I came up with:
- What specific steps are you taking to help kids build relationships with God? …each other? …their leaders?
- How do you create a counter-cultural environment in an hour or hour-and-a-half each week when kids spend the remainder of their time in popular culture?
- How do you encourage your volunteers to build relationships with the kids they minister to?
- How do you give children enough time in your ministry to build relationships with one another?
- What steps do you take to help kids move beyond processing information to really developing a relationship with God?