At True Life, our children’s ministry theme is superheroes. The Superhero theme was not chosen for its relevance, although current popularity is a helpful coincidence in its attraction to children. Originally, the concept of superheroes emerged from the idea of empowering children to make a difference in their world—not when they’re adults, not tomorrow, but now. The theme also beautifully connects to identity, both Jesus as the ultimate hero and their own as New Creations in Christ. The powers of the heroes help children conceptualize their own unique spiritual gifts and their need for the unique abilities of others. In these ways, the theme fosters opportunities for greater understanding of purpose, identity and community. To help provide opportunities for children to live this out, we seek to provide multiple opportunities for outreach.
Outreach is the natural flow of a superhero, of a revivalist, of a Christian, of a human. We are all made to connect to and lend to others. God showed me years ago that healthy children operate as pipes and not dams. God pours water of life into their lives, and they pour it back out. If they became “dammed” rivers, the water becomes contaminated. Sometimes, when we see bad attitudes in our children, I wonder if they’re just getting “clogged” up where they were designed to flow. I look for areas to plug our children into ministry.
Recently, we have had conversations about mature 4th and 5th grade children in KidMarvel who are bored. Some of these amazing young revivalists are either not wanting to attend Sunday school or cause problems in the class (such as talking while the teacher is talking or goofing around). We wanted to know how to best meet their needs. The conclusion several of the KidMarvel leaders arrived at was that we suspected some “clogging” was going on. We needed to let the kids “flow” out by serving.
The next week, our leaders equipped two children to help run “sound” (turning two switches on a sound board) during Splash, our kid’s worship. We also asked older children to pair up with small groups of 1st through 3rd graders and asked the older children to read the Bible to the younger ones. The kids did really well with their responsibilities! We were pleased with the immediate fruit, and look forward to seeing how Holy Spirit leads us to empower and activate our older children even more.
It is our dream to start a 4th and 5th grade Sunday school class just for these students. In that setting, we would better teach to their level and equip them to continue to serve and pour out in church, at home and at school. We are praying for the right team to lead these young folks!
From the beginning of our ministry, I knew that partnering with Holy Spirit to help children do ministry would be essential. We’ve worked hard to listen to them to see where Holy Spirit is leading them. In my book Tales from Heaven’s Treehouse I described this process of learning to trust the Holy Spirit’s leading through the children and developing the ability to simply foster His ministry to and through them.
Our children’s ministry should be a response and overflow of their relationship with the Lord. Matthew 10:8 says, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.” We freely received, first, and now, we get the privilege to give away with Him. This is crucial and foundation with ministry to children. We constantly give opportunities to serve, because it’s in their nature to serve.