Summer vacations are winding down. Families are gathering endless amounts of notebooks, pencils, crayons and more in preparation for their children returning to school. Churches and ministries are gearing up for restored rhythms and fresh ministry launches. Countless leaders, like yourself in children’s ministry, are bursting with anticipation over a return to a more structured Sunday learning environment, as children re-enter their routines. As I caught myself reflecting this past week, it was as though God spoke to me through the disaster of our summer landscaping project. What catches your attention and speaks to your heartstrings when looking at the above landscape? Might I share with you what caught mine? Children in this day and age are facing challenges that we would never imagine. When the storms of life come their way, and we know they will, though circumstances and situations may knock them over, might they have this type of root system deep within their hearts?
Let it be our mission to come alongside children and families to cultivate roots that will lay a structured foundation, filled with the love of Christ and the love of the local church, to prevent a chaotic scene like the one in the picture. In education, structure and routine are vital for a developing child.
In an article published by The Child Development Institute, Dr. Robert Myers writes that, “regular schedules provide the day with a structure that orders a young child’s world. Although predictability can be tiresome for adults, children thrive on repetition and routine.” Such is also the case in creating and sustaining an effective children’s ministry.
Why is structure so important when selecting a children’s curriculum? Let’s look at Ephesians 3:17-19 which says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Reflect on these three simple reasons why intentional structure leaves eternal imprints, equipping children to comprehend and know the love of Christ!
Many of us in Children’s Ministry can probably reflect on seasons of ministry where we were planning and pulling lessons from books, websites, free downloads, and more. While all of these are beautifully curated resources for busy ministry leaders, fabricating vital ministry in a piecemeal fashion week after week does not usually create the lasting impact that we desire. As Simon Sinek so eloquently teaches, we must always start with the why. When focusing on why we pour into the lives of countless children and families on a weekly basis, the how and what will flow from it. When the why is answered with the mission of introducing children to God through His Word, with a strong overview of salvation and how it ties to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, organic roots are sure to be cultivated through well thought out approaches to delivering the complete Gospel message in a fun, active and relatable manner for children to connect with.
Much like the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7, children entrusted into our care and ministries need to build their foundation on Christ, the solid rock. As a parent, educator, and ministry leader, my desire is that all children would be grounded! Not so fast, don’t label me crazy just yet. I do not mean grounded by being disciplined and deprived of privileges as a means of punishment, though I was looking up the definition of grounded recently and fully expecting to see an image of my teenage son beside the word! All joking aside, if we look up the definition of grounded, Webster defines it as being “used to describe a person who is sensible and has a good understanding of what is really important in life.” Isn’t our collective desire to assist in molding the upcoming generation into being sensible children, teenagers, and young adults who have a good understand of what is eternally important? Intentionality in laying the groundwork for children to come to a deeper understanding of who God is and enter into their own relationship with his Son is by far our greatest mission and goal, as teachers, leaders, mentors, and disciples. As roots are cultivated, with the partnership of the church and families, a grounding foundation is formed.
Think about an average Sunday morning in Children’s Ministry, what comes to mind? High energy, loud singing, crazy games, and over-the-top object lessons are a few of my immediate thoughts! You may be surprised to hear however, that there is much structure to be found in each of those examples! Did you know that structure can still be fun? Creating a safe structured environment conducive to active learning is a beautiful example of the love we can pour out to children. In order for a child to open their hearts and minds to hearing the Gospel, their basic needs of feeling safe, wanted, and loved must be solidified.
If you are anything like me, since fall is quickly approaching, you are probably finalizing curriculum selections going into the 2019/2020 year. Would you consider eternally investing in children’s lives by using our Hearts Alive Sunday School and Children’s Church curriculum? They are both ideally structured and carefully designed resources for your ministry. Hearts Alive is a fully integrated weekly worship experience in which children explore the same weekly lectionary readings (RCL) as their parents but at a level that engages their intellectual and tactile capabilities. Our Children’s Church program is designed to complement the Hearts Alive Sunday School curriculum and contains distinct lessons, so that children who are participating in both programs have fresh, inspiring materials. Order today and be a part of children’s hearts all over the world coming alive to the Word of God!