Missional Children’s Ministry

12 09 2011

The term “Missional” has become extremely popular in all circles these days.  But what does it mean?

It does means that we are on a mission from God, but it means a little more than that.  It means that we are living out our faith in all aspects of our life and approaching our role as believers in every way we can.  We approach our immediate community as missionaries approach new cultures.  We study it, we adapt to it, we minister to it.

It also means that it is a different way to do church.  We do not use an attractional model of church (come here and hear about Jesus), instead it is a missional model of church (we will go and be the church where you are and that is how you’ll hear about Jesus).  This is a reversal of ministry 30 years ago.

So how does that relate to children’s ministry?  It relates in two ways.  One way it relates is that we need to be students of child culture.

  1. We must study the culture.  We must know their culture before we attempt to minister to it.  If Christians are unwilling to study and learn what children are doing and engaging in, they are not being missional.
  2. We also need to adapt to it.  We must be willing to adapt what we are teaching to the children.  It needs to be adapted to them as they learn and develop spiritually.
  3. We need to minister to it.  We need to guide our kids in ministry and service and also we need to minister to them directly.  They are the present and future church and must be ministered to directly.  We also need to give them opportunities in ministry to minister to others.

Another way that this relates to children’s ministry is how we create programs.  Most of the programs we create are designed to attract kids to church.  We create big events or programs that will help children to come to hear about Jesus so that they can be changed kids.  A missional approach would reverse that.  This would be an approach to go to the children.  It would design programs that go where the children are (schools and neighborhoods) to take Jesus to them.  This would get rid of the minister that gathers Christian kids together and it replaces them with programs that take Jesus to the kids.

A missional approach would also empower parents to do the ministry with their kids in the home instead of disempowering them by having them drop the kids off at church.

Missional Children’s Ministry?  Is it the future?  I hope so.

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