THE CHURCH WITHIN THE CHURCH

Imagine you are the parent the next time you go to church.  Pay attention as you are driving into the parking lot.  You flip on the turning signals and turn onto the blacktop pavement.  You are immediately directed by the friendly parking lot ministry, or you follow the well placed signs into a parking spot.  You approach the building, and as you walk toward the door, you are greeted by more friendly smiles.  You enter the foyer or lobby and into the hustle and bustle of the pre-service chatter.  You notice the congested area off the main lobby hall, the kid’s ministry.  This is probably the first place you will visit if you have children.  You sign in your kids, grab the sticker or ID bracelet, and watch them disappear into the classroom.  Whether you are a leader or a parent or both, this process is important.  You want to know your kids are safe and secure as you leave them in the care of others.  You realize that this oft forgotten side ministry is one of the most important ministries in the church.  Staffed by the most awesome, loving people you will ever know!  You grab a coffee, nod your head, smile and engage!

As a leader you know that down the hall, over in the corner or down the stairs where the kid’s ministry resides, there is a group of like-minded people working with whatever budget the church allocates, making a difference, investing in the precious children of God’s Kingdom.  They change diapers, make snacks, memorize skits, jump eagerly during worship, make castles out of LEGOs, give awesome high fives, shake hands, wear smiles and scoop out love by the armful to the children.  It can feel like a thankless job, an isolated job, a weary job.  We are sometimes the first enter the building, and usually the last to leave.  We carry bags of trash as we leave to toss in the dumpster.  We will use our own resources or spend our own money to enhance lessons to create the “awe” moment when teaching the children.  We are the ones that are praying for a child as a Band-aid is placed on the “boo-boo”.  We comfort, play, teach and love the children not just for parents to attend “big” church but because we love it.  We take every chance we can to come and pour into this ministry.  It’s the church within the church.

Kid’s ministry is vital to church families by offering programs for the kids – a structured time and area where kids can go so adults can focus on growing spiritually in the main service.  If a group of believers should take this view and nothing more, then an invisible ceiling can be placed on the ministry.  Those kids down the hall, crying babies and whinny toddlers are precious to God, and they are the future leaders of the church.  This ministry should be included as part of the whole identity, mission and value of the body of Christ.

Are you growing the church within the church—the kid’s ministry?

HERE ARE 7 WAYS YOU CAN INVEST AND GROW YOUR KID’S MINISTRY:

  1. Invest in Receiving!  Put a priority on attending leadership meetings.  If the kids’ ministry staff is not included in the weekly or monthly leadership meetings, ask to be invited.  Support from the church leadership is a key to a successful and thriving kid’s ministry.  Receive input, wisdom, prayers and support from your leaders!
  2. Invest in Vision!  Be in unity with the vision of the main church body.  Remember kid’s ministry is the church within the church.  It should reflect the same identity.  Your vision should be an extension of the whole.  If your church is very mission-minded for example, and there isn’t a world map or reflections of helping others being displayed, then maybe your kid’s ministry is not in unity.  If your church is reaching the un-churched, and your events are not tailored for bringing in un-churched kids, then your reflection may need adjustment.  Kid’s ministry should reflect the main body!
  3. Invest in the Visual!  Take an inventory of your kid’s ministry room appearance.  Is it warm and inviting?  Does the room say – we at this church body value the children!  Is the room neat and organized?  Check the toys!  Throw away the broken, unsafe toys and replace out-of-date items.  Put a value on these precious kids.  Plush offices, state of art coffee bars and flashy gadgets are attractive to the eye and can make you feel important, but does it grow a church like your kid’s ministry down the hall?
  4. Invest in the Message!  Get good curriculum for your kids and volunteers.  There are tons of good, innovative lessons out there!  Don’t be afraid to enhance any of them!  Be creative!  I love looking around the house for objects to enhance the message!  Be relatable and funny!
  5. Invest the Time!  Don’t set the example of looking at your lesson the day before or winging it during the church service.  The kids will know.  Spend time reading and studying the lessons.  God will teach you something as well every time.  The kids are worth your time!
  6. Invest in the Family!  Meet and greet the parents.  This is an opportunity to invest in the family part of kid’s ministry.  Remember that you are not the Lone Ranger!  Your incredible skills alone cannot fully disciple these precious kids!  Support and pray for the parents, grandparents and caregivers as well as the kids.  Show them your face, let them see your love, and open a clear line of communication with them!
  7. Invest in Yourself!  Good leaders are good readers!  Read the Word of God!  Sometimes we are isolated from the body of Christ especially during the main services.  Making service might not be possible every week-end.  I encourage you to find other ways to connect and get filled spiritually.  Listen to the message online, get with small groups, find leadership to mentor and invest in you.  Remember you are investing in kids, and you need someone to invest in you!

Kid’s ministry is the future of the Body of Christ!  We are growing the future leaders of the Kingdom of God.  They are the next pastors, teachers, missionaries, musicians, sound techs, videographers, laymen, administrators, community leaders, world changers and kingdom builders right down the hall.  I encourage you leaders of our future leaders!  Be blessed!  Know that your love and investment are growing the Church within the Church!

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