Jesus invites the little children to come to Him. Congregations invite even infants to worship, congregational activities and Children’s ministry. All of these are opportunities for young people to hear the Gospel, study God’s Word, see faith modeled in community and develop a strong foundation of spiritual development. Children’s ministry is a specialized area which targets children from birth to Confirmation or Junior High as they grow physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Children’s ministry often includes programs like Cradle Roll, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, recognition of milestones, and events around church holidays like Christmas and Easter. These often include time for Christian education, developing supportive, Christ centered relationships with peers and adults, and engaging in service. It is important to develop specific goals for Children’s ministry, including how it can be a place to engage families in your community.
Children’s ministry should not be entirely separated from congregational ministry or family ministry. It is essentially to partner with parents in caring for children as they are the primary influence in a child’s spiritual formation. This includes equipping parents to teach the faith in the home and communicating with them so they can reinforce and talk about lessons from Children’s ministry. This also means helping children through transitions as they grow including into new areas of congregational ministry with different lay leaders.
As your congregation develops its Children’s ministry, you should be conscientious to follow risk management guidelines. This can include things like background checks for adults, maintaining classroom and outdoor space safely, and ensuring there are no allergies to foods you might provide. Safety of children and the adults who care for them should be of high importance.
Parents and the church family are there to help and guide children as they learn about and explore their faith. As they grow, we pray Children’s ministry leads to youth ministry and into lifelong discipleship.
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod offers resources to help parents and pastors instruct children about what is included in the Divine Service—and why they are included. This includes bulletin inserts, resources, and articles.
This useful book offers Scripture-based tools for building children’s ministry in your church. The pages hold definitions, clarity of ministry, and direction. Both professional church workers and volunteers will find joy in serving as they construct blueprints to lay a solid faith foundation for children while partnering with parents. A bonus song is included!
Energizing Your Children’s Ministry is a book by Cynthia Brown designed to be a practical tool for lay and professionals doing Children’s Ministry. She starts with the foundational understanding that re-evaluating your children’s ministry is as basic as your ABCDs: Assess your church’s needs, Build relationships, Create a leadership team, and then Define the focus. These crucial steps are key in creating and leading children’s programs that inspire and educate children and their families.
This blog post from Concordia Publishing House considers how quickly children grow and why your Children’s ministry is so important to the faith lives of young people.
Whether you’re a volunteer or a professional youth worker, Authentic Youth Ministry will encourage you to understand yourself better as a leader, work more confidently with your students, and embrace the privilege of seeing kids, parents, and entire families grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
After assessing current trends in the faith development of youth, Dr. David Rueter wrote Teaching the Faith at Home: What Does This Mean? How Is This Done? to reveal why the historic model of teaching the catechism early in the home is key in keeping families connected to the Church. Catechesis that’s grounded in family life is not a new idea, but it’s one that our fast-paced culture often forgets and would do well to remember and cherish.
This simple-concept illustrated children’s book communicates the living relationship between God and every child, from the moment of each child’s conception. Encourage interaction between parents and children that reinforces the truth that God made them alive from their beginning.