Does Children’s Ministry Really Matter?
Recently I was talking with our children and youth team about our vision. Why do we do all of this? Does what we do even matter? About a week later, I came across this blog from reFocus Ministry—and it was as if God grabbed my heart (as He often does) and said, “Yes! It does matter. Keep going.” So this month I want to share a portion of the blog post from refocusministy.org entitled, “What’s the Point of Children’s Ministry if Children Don’t Come to Church?, which truly communicates my heart for our ministry at Hope.
We can’t ignore the reality of the situation. Some studies indicate that a regularly attending child could be present up to four times a month but may only be in church once or twice a month. Other studies remind us that of the 168 hours in a week, only one of those is spent in church. Also, there is rising recognition that the home is the primary place of spiritual formation and that parents are the greatest influence of faith in their children. When considering these facts, it seems as if children and youth ministries are becoming inconsequential. Maybe even pointless. If our time with these kids is so limited, why do we pour so much time, effort, and love into what we do? Does our time serving the children at church even matter?The answer…Yes! Yes! Yes!
From the very beginning, God intended the faith community to be an integral part of the spiritual growth of children.When Moses shared with parents that they should talk about their faith when they sit at home and when they walk along the road, and when they get up and before they sleep, he did so in the presence of the entireIsraelite community (Deut. 6:4-9). The entire faith community was to pass on their faith to future generations. The parents were never supposed to do it alone.Parents are to pass on their faith in their homes as part of a faith community who join them in their discipleship and support them in their work of faith formation. The church is the place where parents find nurture, support, and equipping for the work they are called to do. And those of us that serve in children and youth ministries (or anywhere in the church!), have the privilege to be part of that partnership. Children need the influence of the faith community. They need relationships with each other and with the adults in church.So even a small amount of time spent at church matters! The time spent at church creates a sense of belonging, purpose, and meaning within a community that reinforces the values and teachings of parents and creates relationships that can last a lifetime.
As a faith community, let’s seek ways to nurture, support, and equip parents (smile and welcome a family who takes the time to come to church on Sunday morning). Let’s create intentional space for intergenerational relationships to be created and grown (serving alongside one another is a great time to develop relationships). Let’s allow children to join the faith community in worship, in serving, and in sharing the story of faith.