Children’s ministry has long suffered from the Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome of “I don’t get no respect.”
Partially that is because churches, and often lead pastors, don’t understand the nature of what it means to build a spiritual foundation in kids.
But we are also to blame.
Sometimes, we conduct ourselves, and our ministries, in ways that do not inspire respect.
Here are some of those ways.
Children’s pastors are often too silly. They think that acting like a big kid is the way to win over kids, parents and staff.
It never works. It always backfires.
Think about how you dress. Pay attention to how you interact with parents, workers and staff.
You are a minister. Act like it.
Bible stories are not cartoons.
When you continually reduce real stories of real people in real situations to a cartoon, you reduce ministry to childcare.
This is particularly true in elementary ministry.
Don’t expect people to respect/value ministry that is centered on cartoons. Cartoons entertain but don’t accomplish much else.
I have never met an adult who told me their life was impacted at 9 years old by watching a cartoon.
Using videos to enhance your teaching can be helpful.
Constantly using videos to replace teaching gives the impression you don’t really believe in what you are doing.
We would never allow school teachers to rely on videos the way we do in children’s church.
4. Weak Content
I can’t say it enough.
We can teach lessons that don’t offend like sharing and kindness or whatever, or we can teach lessons that inspire kids to build a relationship with the Lord.
Real lessons about real people with real life issues who learned to depend on the Lord.
That’s what draws kids into a faith-built connection with the living Lord. That’s what will frame their lives for the future.
Values do not inspire kids to build a relationship with the Lord. Content matters.
Get organized for crying out loud.
Sloppy procedures and last minute preparations do not inspire confidence or respect.
Leonard Sweet said, “It’s not the art of the performance; it’s the art of the participation.”
To this day I am still kicking myself that I didn’t say that first. Len Sweet was right.
It’s not about putting on a great show for the kids. It’s about how you turn them from spectators into participants.
When people/church/workers/staff/pastor sees the power of getting kids to participate in their own learning, something happens that generates respect.
Without participation/involvement your ministry looks predictable and feels flat.
There might be more. What do you think?