Daisy Samuel is wife to Eben Samuel and mom to Shekinah. Pastor Eben and Daisy Samuel are pastors at Tabernacle of Prayer under the leadership of Pastor Subi and Beena Samuel
Ministries these days are widely growing, whether it is the ministry of teaching or preaching or evangelising or youth ministry. We often hear of these titles amongst the Christian circle & most of us fall into one of these.
However the ministry that has been one of the most important & has been the most ignored in the church is the Children’s Ministry. We often forget that children are the future of our churches. They are the unseen pillars which will keep the church standing when the time for us has passed. The ones who started to the promised land never got to see it, instead it is their children who did.
Matthew 19:14 says, “But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Here are some of the ways in which we can be a hindrance:
1. When church ignores the children ministry
Many churches focus on raising up leaders , pastors and evangelists. What about the kids? How much interest does the church pastor take to invest into children’s ministry? How much time do the leaders give in understanding how well the children’s ministry is doing? It is one of the most important and most ignored ministries in our churches today and this generation of leaders ought to change it. We are today a result of what our teacher’s ministered to us in Sunday ministry.
2. When church doesn’t consider it as a ‘ministry’
Will the church appoint a person with no calling for pastoral to be a pastor? Then why don’t we have a screening process for choosing the teachers for children’s ministry? Ministering to children has to be a calling, not a side activity. Spending time with the children of the church is not merely a passing time while the elders are at the service, or engaging the kids so that they don’t disturb their parents. No! You & me are equally responsible for building up each and every child of the church & if the right person with a call isn’t selected for this ministry, we might do much harm than good to our kids.
3. When church doesn’t give a platform for children to minister
The truth be told, God hears the prayers of a child much more than an adult, the only reason being it comes out of a pure & blameless heart. How many of us can accept that a child can minister to us in the church? That a song or a skit performance can lead someone to salvation? That the warmth of our children’s smile or laughter can heal broken hearts? Our children are most treasured by God and if we don’t treasure their presence in our ministry then we might be doing something wrong.
4. When we ignore their gifts
Children are loaded with gifts and talents. It is important for us to recognise their talent and motivate to excel in it. This will happen when we allow them to explore. Children’s ministry gives such opportunities to children. When we allow them to make mistakes in a church setting, they become confident when they go out in the world. Helping the children use their gifts not only makes them grow closer to God but it also helps them to find favour with man.
It is very important to be disciplined and organised in children’s ministry. Since we cannot expect the same from the kids (of a certain age), we need to be sure that we do not get dragged into an unorganized structure and method of conducting sessions with the kids.
We, at Tabernacle of Prayer – Mumbai, have a team of passionate teachers guided under the pastorship of Subi & Beena. We are encouraged by our pastors to make our own curriculum for the kids and we have seen how much it has helped the them understand the bible better.
It is important to have teachers who are called for this particular ministry so that they are sensitive to the needs of the children. While making curriculum it is important to keep in mind the level & understanding capacity of each child. Having your own curriculum gives you the freedom to edit and add the activities and lessons of your choice and not stick to a regime. It also helps you to modify lessons as per the needs of the children in your church. Our teachers mostly brain storm the lesson plan and refer the web for activities (We usually take resources which are freely available such as http://www.dltk-bible.com/educational.htm.)
Below is a structure which we follow in our church:
[1. Lesson no., 2. Lesson Focus, 3. Biblical reference, 4. Materials required, 5. Teacher’s preparation (this is for teachers to have a personal time of meditation before they take the class), 6. Activity I – to introduce the story, 7. Story/lesson – not more then 10 minutes, 8. Activity II, 9. Home work, 10. Prayer].
If you have a wider group it is necessary to divide them into different class, preferably age wise. This will help you be more structured & you will be able to meet the needs of every age group differently. We also make sure that we have at least 2 teachers facilitating the children. One would take the lesson and one would take charge of the activities. This is done particularly so that the kids won’t be seeing the same person at all times. Home work is necessary since it gives a time of reflection on what was done in class and a time to be creative. Some of the home work we give is write a song on anything they were inspired from the lesson, find out other incidents related to the lesson in the bible and so on.
It is also important to stress that each child has their own bible (both New & Old Testament regardless of their age) and a note book to write down the memory verse for the day.
It is important that we respect each child who is in our class. We must create an environment where they would long each Sunday to be at the children’s ministry. It is time for churches to build & mould our children. The future of ministry and evangelisation rests on them & each of us will be responsible to see the result of the same.