Over the past few months I’ve really been having this overwhelming passion to share the gospel with children. As I’ve prayed God’s opened some doors. The teacher I work with, Amy, asked me to do the Bible Curriculum this year! Also, I’ve been learning more about the vision of the Children’s Ministry at my own church.
So what is Children’s Ministry? Is it Sunday School? Is it youth group?
Regrettably, I sometimes get this icky feeling that parents want Sunday school teachers and their children’s Christian Schools to teach them the Gospel and so I try to pray. “Lord, may no parent bring their child to us, thinking we will take care of their spiritual life.” That sort of thinking really scares me.
In relation to these thoughts, I’ve been skimming through this book called “Generation to Generation” by Wayne Rice. I’m going to some kind of seminar on it, so I thought I’d check it out beforehand. The beginning of it gave some really good things to think about. Here’s a few:
…According to a study conducted in 2007, 70% of young adult ages 23 to 30 say they stopped attending churches between the ages of 18 and 22…
..researcher Ed Stetzer noted: ‘There is no easy way to say it, but it must be said. Parents are not passing on a robust Christian faith and an accompanying commitment to the church…[We] have to ask the hard questions, ‘what is it about our faith commitment that does not find root in the lives of our children?”
…The National Study of Youth and Religion, the largest, most comprehensive study on the religious and spiritual lives of American youth to date, was conducted by the University of North Carolina to determine who or what has the greatest influence on the formation of adolescent faith and values. Christian Smith, one of the study researchers, came to this conclusion: “Contrary to popular misguided cultural stereotypes and frequent parental misconceptions…the evidence clearly shows that the single most important social influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents.”
Some very interesting quotes there. If you were a Christian in high school, then you can totally relate to the first quote. All the people you thought were “on-fire” seemed not to be quite so on-fire anymore. Concerning the second quote: yes, clearly there’s something missing. Why has the faith of parents not taken root in children’s lives? Another good question I would add is, “are children’s Sunday schools and Youth Groups really passing on that robust faith? Is it even their responsibility?” To the 3rd quote I say, University of North Carolina is only echoing what Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 calls parents to do: teach The Word diligently.
So is Sunday School going to do the trick? No it simply won’t. Will Christian Schools or homeschooling do the trick? It won’t. Parents teaching God’s word to children diligently will keep a generation loving and treasuring Christ, the overflow of that will be a generation loving the Church.
So what’s children’s Ministry? Teaching children to love and treasure Christ? Nope. Teaching parents how to do that with their children is the key here- that is Children’s Ministry. After all, according the University of North Carolina they do have “single most important social influence” on their children ;) wink. wink.