Friday, July 24, 2009

Outstanding Children's Ministry

How essential is an outstanding children's ministry to the life of a church and what constitutes an outstanding children's ministry?

When looking for a church home, what priority is placed on the children's ministry in that decision?

Is it more important than the overall climate of the church?

Is it more important than the worship experience?

Does it trump the warmth and hospitality of the members in general?

Is it more important than finding a church with awesome adult Bible classes?

These are just a few of the questions rolling around in my head. Any and all input would be welcome.


Lynn Leaming said...

Having been a children's minister for 10 years, I would recommend you read George Barna's book "Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions" to really grasp the importance of Children's Ministry in the life of a church. It is interesting me that not many question youth ministry but many do question the value of children's ministry. I would assume your questions will be answered differently depending on the demographic of the participant, but I think most parents of children are looking for an awesome children's ministry that partners with them in the spiritual formation of their children. I think the statistics would bear my opinion out that the churches of Christ have lost a lot of families to "bigger" churches who can really pour the finances into making children's ministry what it needs to be. It definitely requires a bigger budget than youth ministry because it requires 10 times the volunteers and resources, but if you look at most c of c budgets it is usually not even close, nor are children's ministers paid the same.
That being said...those of us who have been called to that ministry are passionate about it and struggle to cast a vision that gets congregations to invest their time and spiritual gifts in ministry to children. I would love to discuss this with you more sometime if you are interested.

Chris Green said...

Good questions. Being a "book guy" I'd also recommend Barna's book. There are a BUNCH of good ones out there, but one of the best is also "Frogs Without Legs Can't Hear." Changed the way that I look at the integration of children into the "body" of the church.

From the inside (of Dallas churches), I've heard HUNDREDS of people say, "I don't really GET anything out of church, but I go to (this church) because of the children's ministry. And that tends to be more about dropping them off and not hearing them complain afterwards!

But filling the calendar and having the best "show" tends to be the answers that we come up with. Hopefully that is changing, but it seems to be what the "consumer" wants so that's what the church culture gives. It seems to be a tough balance -- especially in a large church.

My heart goes out to you!!