15 questions to assess children’s spiritual understanding

October 6, 2020

Fifth grade is a pivotal year in children’s ministry as preteens prepare to enter youth ministry.

The start of fifth grade is a great time to take stock of what our children have learned so far as evidenced by their faith walk and talk. You may discover it needs to be a “catch up” year with dedicated time for deeper levels of discipleship so children are prepared for youth ministry in light of what our youth leaders hope they know, believe and do as they build upon their spiritual foundation.

What are we doing now to achieve this vision of developing a fully formed disciple of Christ in our children’s ministry?

For every fifth grader who has been part of a children’s ministry for several years, here are some basic questions they should be able to not only answer, but also believe and do as they enter youth ministry.

  • Do they know who Jesus is, and what is the gospel? Hopefully, preteens have made the decision to become a Christian, but if they have not, every fifth grader should know how to share the plan of salvation with another person. 
  • Does your children’s ministry have a clear, concise gospel presentation that you not only share with children, but is also taught to them so they can share the wonderful gift of Jesus?
  • Do they embrace the priority and importance of spiritual disciplines in daily living? Consider disciplines like prayer, Bible reading, worship, journaling and Scripture memory.
  • Have they been taught the purpose and power of prayer?
  • Do they recognize how God can speak through the Bible today?
  • Do they know how worship tunes our hearts and minds to the will of God?
  • Do they know the pleasure of journaling or using devotion guides?
  • Is Scripture memory part of spiritual devotions your church practices?
  • Have they had opportunities to serve in the context of the Great Commission, and do they have a clear understanding of why they serve?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Christ? Jim Wideman, national children’s ministry leader, has a beautiful way of expressing this when he says, “It’s time we all move past just getting children saved and help them to live saved.” 
  • Do they understand the infallibility of the Bible and that the Bible is the one big story of God, told through many smaller stories of His work in the lives of different people and groups throughout history?
  • Do they understand that they are part of the church today through participation in corporate worship and the church on mission in their community and world?
  • Do they understand who the Holy Spirit is and His work in communicating and leading us as disciples of Christ? 
  • Do they know how the Holy Spirit expresses the will of God for their life?
  • Do they have a strong understanding of creation as the work of God?

You may have other ideas for foundational understandings and actions that fifth graders should know, believe and do. The bigger question is, what are we doing now to achieve this vision of developing a fully formed disciple of Christ in our children’s ministry from infancy through fifth grade?

When is the last time you assessed the effectiveness of your ministries in this context? Now is a great time to start.


by Cheryl Markland  
/  Childhood Evangelism and Discipleship  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Virtual breakout sessions to be released ahead of annual meeting

N.C. Baptists can receive practical training and equipping in a variety of ministry areas through a series of virtual breakout sessions that will be released in conjunction with this year’s Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) annual meeting.Fifteen breakout session...

Cultivate the secret place with the Lord

It was a busy Thursday evening in October 2002. Billy Graham was leading a crusade in my hometown, and my church had chartered a bus for any interested church member to ride to the gathering with ease. I was one of the last people to make it to the bus before it departed and there...

Seeing the college campus as a mission field

Though many churches are rightly concerned about graduating high school students and college students in the church family keeping their faith, another important aspect of college ministry is reaching non-Christian college students with the gospel. The Baptist State Convention of...

N.C. Baptist search team looking for visionary, missions-minded leader

Noah Crowe, chair of the search committee to find the next executive leader for North Carolina Baptists, told the Biblical Recorder a "visionary mindset" is one of the "high qualities" the group is looking for among candidates. The search team was formed in July to begin looking...

Living in the Bible Belt doesn’t make you a Christian

I grew up in the Bible Belt. In those days, almost nobody worked on Sundays. We prayed before class, ball games and meals — even in the name of Jesus — whether we believed it or not. We proudly displayed the Ten Commandments in our courthouses — whether we obeyed them or not....

Newly planted cowboy church draws folks from afar

Cool Water Cowboy Church near Sanford is growing. Drive by Hunt Springs Baptist Church’s building south of downtown Sanford and it looks pretty normal. It’s a medium-size brick building with a neatly-trimmed lawn. The church reports having about 155 members — a solid number, but...

An A-to-Z list of things to know about annual meeting

The 2020 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will be unlike any other in recent memory. Changes to the time and location, a new online registration process and enhanced health and safety protocols are just a few of the items to be aware of this...

Important information about this year’s annual meeting

Hopefully by now you have heard the news that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors voted to hold a one-day, abbreviated annual meeting this year, which will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, from 1-5 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Charlotte....

1 Comment

  1. Don L McCutcheon

    Cheryl,

    Thank you for this excellent article on assessing children’s understanding of the gospel and discipleship. I appreciate what you are doing for our Lord and children and their families.

    Blessings,
    Don McCutcheon

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and event information by signing up for the Childhood Ministry newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!