Childrens Church is not Sunday School in my definition.
If you refer your children's ministry as Sunday School, you may be only focussing on a very small part of your children's spiritual development. And if you call your children's ministry as Childrens Church, and only offer Bible Stories, games and craft, you are also missing out on the totality of the spiritual development of a child.
In today's contemporary churches, many children's ministries have names like: Kidz Club, Sunshine Kids, Powerkids.... etc. Whatever it is called, consider the philosophy and goals of your children's ministry.
Think about why churches would have most or all of these pillars? Now, think about what is the mission of a Childrens Church. Aren't they similar? So, why limit children's ministry to Sunday School, art and crafts, fun and games - or worst of all - just child care?
How does a Junior Worship Service look like on a given Sunday?
Leadership Team (Upper Elementary Kids) arrives 20 mins before time. These are kids leading Worship, Creative Arts (Dance, Puppets, Mimes…etc), Prayer, Announcement, Group Leaders, Speakers (Show and Tell)..etc
Ministry Team (Lower Elementary Kids) also arrives 20 mins before time. These are kids positioned as Ushers, Greeters. Technical Assistants (Operating Powerpoint)…etc
Worship Team gathers to run through the program, pray and get into position with the prelude in the background, 5 minutes before service commences. The Worship Team is usually led by Upper Elementary kids who has done some music training, especially the musicians. Children are easy to train. I've given guitar lessons to some kids ranging from 8 yrs old to 12 over the Summer Holiday. Within 3 months, some are ready to be up front strumming their guitars with me - on-the-job training.
Ministry Team gets equipment, welcome folders, name tags ….. etc ready and gathers to pray (if possible together with the Worship Team) and then get into position before other kids arrive.
Kids are taught to watch the clock and at the appointed time, to begin the service punctually, with a welcome address by one of the kids. Most kids can do this - I have done it with as young as Grade 1 kids.
Greeters greet everyone that walks through the doors of the childrens church with a simple welcome note and hand out name badges. Name Badges are very useful for newcomers to get to know the names of the many faces they would see for the first time. It is also an indication of who is new as you can discreetly put a little smiling face sticker at the corner of the name tag. Regular children were trained to spot them out and to extend special welcome or intentionally include them into their activities.
Ushers will close the doors - this is to indicate to those coming in after the service has started, that they were late. A very young kid can also do this and in the process learn to tell time.
Prayer - the power of kids' prayer can never be undermined. Oh, how I love and believe a child's sincerity and faith in the prayers they utter.
Preaching - As much as adults are empowered with the spiritual gift of preaching, so also are kids empowered to share their insights and biblical understanding. If a child is brought up in school with "Show and tell", shouldn't they be given a chance to show and tell God's word ? Of course, some training and guidance would be provided.
Announcement and Offering - Need I say anymore? Kids can do it ! Yes, the whole service. All adults do at the service are to render support and some encouragement. During the week, parents / adult leaders would follow through with the training and preparation.
Don't get me wrong. The kids may take on the leadership role in running the Junior Worship, but adults are still there as the under-shepherds to provide guidance, care and direction for the children's church.
The following are some more articles that I am thinking of - to be included in the following pages of the Childrens Church category in the next few days. What do you think ?
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