Ministry With Lasting Impact: We All Play a Role
As parents, ministry leaders, and a church community, I think we can all agree that we want our children and students to have a solid, lasting faith, one that lives beyond the walls of our church and ministry programs. One that matures and continues into adulthood. One that moves beyond just learning about God and into a personal relationship with God. But how do we get there? How do we achieve a spiritual transformation in our children?
The answer is simple: we don’t. Only God, through the power of the Holy Spirit living inside us, is capable of spiritual transformation. In His perfect timing and in His way, not ours. Does this mean we should scrap our children and youth ministries? Cancel all our programs and outreach events? Absolutely not. But sometimes even our best intentions with programs, worship services, and events unintentionally take the focus and glory away from God and put it on ourselves. We make it complicated. We think we need to “create more” and “do better” to get lasting results. We are not looking to overbook an already busy family schedule with more programs and events. Instead, we are looking to bring about real, authentic change that: makes God central in our daily living, empowers families to be spiritual leaders, forms lifelong faith, teaches Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth, and engages each generation in the gospel.
To be effective, we need to understand our God-designed roles in the spiritual formation of our children. God did not intend for us to do this alone!
- The Holy Spirit is, and always should be, at the heart of faith transformation. Our Sunday school programs, worship, and events should draw our attention to Him.
- Parents are the primary nurturers of the work of the Holy Spirit. And I believe many parents want to assume this role, but they feel overwhelmed and underprepared. We need to make Sunday morning worship the expectation, not an afterthought. We need to model what it means to worship God, not just on Sunday, but in our daily living.
- As a church we need to encourage and equip parents with the resources needed to fulfill their role as the primary spiritual nurturers. We need to create a church culture that values and encourages intergenerational participation in worship. We need to be committed to providing Sunday school that is age-specific so young children, teens, and adults can build relationships with their peers while studying God’s word. We need to serve alongside one another so our children witness our faith in action.
We are not suggesting that if your child comes to church every Sunday, attends Sunday school, participates in this or that program, and serves the church they will be guaranteed followers of Jesus for a lifetime. We are not creating another to-do list for families. What we are encouraging is prioritizing faith development as a community of believers. We present the opportunities to our children and youth to live-out their faith, and let the Holy Spirit use those opportunities to transform lives.