Leading change through children's ministry

March 8, 2018

The days when families attended church without question and every time the doors were opened is a pleasant memory.

Today’s families are busier than ever. Practices and extracurricular lessons, two-income wage earners, family commitments and travel sports teams mean families often spend more time in the car than at home or church.

Church attendance, in general, is on the decline due to many reasons, including affluence that permits frequent vacation travel, online church, general exhaustion and parents’ work schedules. A child who is considered a “regular attender” today comes to church three times per month, on average.

If church attendance is no longer a priority for families, what is the church to do? Churches need to focus on equipping parents to disciple their children at home (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Sermons, training opportunities and teachings on the importance of discipleship for children need to be offered. Training can be offered to parents in using the supplemental materials provided by church curriculum, such as take-home sheets, social media information and apps for electronic devices.

Churches must acknowledge parents’ expectation of safe, secure, clean and attractive teaching environments. This includes conducting background checks for all volunteers and having written safety and security policies and procedures that are clearly enforced.

Using technology in children’s ministry has its place, but churches need to balance the use of technology and “edutainment” with opportunities for building relationships between children and caring adults who desire to disciple children in small-group settings. The Bible should be taught as God’s one grand narrative made of many stories, chapters and books.

Consider the importance of children’s discipleship in the life of the child and the church. George Barna’s research states that a child’s moral standards are set by age nine. Their spiritual foundations are set by age 13.

We must make the most of this critical time both at home and at church. Excellence in facility and teaching staff is critical. Children need to know that they are part of the church family and should not always be segregated from the adult population. Children learn to be disciples as they interact with adult leaders and parents who model the life of a disciple. Churches that understand and see this truth as a guiding principle for their children’s ministry will thrive.


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

Questions to ask when deciding to reopen your children’s ministry

As churches progress through the coronavirus pandemic, a major question currently surfacing is, “How do I make the decision about when to reopen children’s ministries, especially those for preschool worship care?” This can be a difficult and divisive decision, but above all other...

10 ways to help preteens transition to youth ministry

One of my greatest joys and sources of fun was ministry with preteens. Preteens know that youth ministry is just around the corner and, at times, I felt like I was leading the Israelites who were waiting to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land, and I wouldn’t say “Go!” I...

15 questions to assess children’s spiritual understanding

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”...

‘Reimagine’ resource addresses today’s realities, tomorrow’s possibilities

How does your church see this COVID moment? On a recent webcast by the Barna Group titled “Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” panelists posed the question, “Is this an interruption or a disruption?” An interruption means that this is only a temporary interference in our lives,...

How churches can serve students, families amid school uncertainty

Many parents are facing difficult decisions in this time of COVID-19 about how best to school their children this fall. Schools may or may not reopen or may be available for in-person attendance on a limited basis. Households with working parents will be challenged to provide...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Get the latest news and information by signing up for our N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!