Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Children's Ministry Values (Part 2 - Volunteers & Children)

We’ve already covered two of our core values, regarding Staff and Parents.  In this post, we’ll discuss three more.

  1. Help volunteers grow. We feel that our Children’s Ministry is as much about volunteers as it is about children. That is, if our leaders are pursuing and growing in Christ, then they will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to pour into children. How do volunteers grow in Christ?
    1. Personal spiritual growth, through worship, Bible study, prayer, community, baptism, etc.
    2. Specific equipping through occasional training events, equipping resources on our website, and through our volunteer Coaches.
    3. Feeling the burden of responsibility. We have volunteers doing service that many churches pay people to do, such as scheduling, curriculum writing, and preparing classroom materials. We want to put our leaders in positions where they feel ownership over our ministry. They need to be participating stewards of God's resources.
  1. The curriculum challenges the children.  The Gospel message changes lives, but it has to be more than basic Biblical principles, like “love others” and “make good choices” and “love God.” We want to get down to the core issues, especially that we are all sinners and undeserving of God’s love, but that our perfect God has shown His love for us through crushing His own Son on the cross. We never want to water down the message, even for young preschoolers. We don’t claim to be curriculum experts, but if we are going to err, it will be on the side of making the curriculum a little too advanced and challenging, rather than aiming low. Is our programming easy on all children? Of course not, but even in their frustrations we want them to see their need to put their hope in a Savior.
  1. Small group relationships are crucial for life change. We’ve seen that when people use the term “small groups” in the context of Children’s Ministry, it can mean a variety of things. Some churches consider that 15-20 children per room. Some churches have a big group teaching time, and direct the kids and leaders to just break off into groups and go over a couple of questions. However, we feel that our Small Group time needs to be meaningful (with a thorough curriculum), fun (with activities and crafts), and intentional (with consistent leaders and class assignments).  We are also insistent on setting maximum numbers for our small groups, which is helped by our check-in system. With large classes, the experience is less meaningful and less safe for the children. After all, children, like adults, desire to belong to real community. 

Thoughts or questions?

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