This year, we have made a big push toward making sure all our leaders are oriented toward the same goal for all the children and youth that come into our church. We want them to be "Motivated by the Gospel to live out their faith everyday." This gives our leaders a sense of an end-goal and shows us where we want our kids to end up. How our leaders help our kids get to this end-goal will be determined by who that individual leader, as well as how they demonstrate that Jesus is working through them to influence the world around them. By giving our kids someone who is passionate about living for Christ, they become a witness to how Christ is at work in the lives of caring adults who serve within the church.
The interesting part that I have been thinking about is that our students have many other "someones" in their lives, and I have the awesome opportunity to speak to parents about the influence these other adults have in the lives of their children. I am a huge believer in mentors and how key people in your life can change the outcome of who you become. I see a direct link between my mentors and the decisions I make everyday. This fall, I can't wait to talk about the role of mentors for kids with the parents of our church, and I hope that I can help them leverage the influencers around their children so that these kids get motivated to live out their faith everyday.
Once leaders embrace their role as a "someone" in a child's life we, need to emphasize the importance of a "somewhere." Contextually, a "somewhere" needs a few key elements to work well in children's ministry. It needs to be consistent with who the leaders are and where the teaching take place. Structure needs to be put in place so that relationships can thrive especially within children's ministry. Creating A Lead Small Culture puts it this way:
Your "somewhere" needs to be as equally important as the "someones" because until your behavior states that your "somewhere" is important it won't build the relationships needed (the ones that grow faith in the lives of the kids).
This year, we have strived to improve the structure of our Sunday mornings. We have functioned on Sundays for a few years with a large group/small group model for a few years, but there always seems to be a tension between what group has what function. The tension exists between who teaches the Bible story and who develops the application of that story, so our kids are equipped to live out their faith and the Bible lesson of that day. It is not a messy tension, but when the tension is not addressed, one of those key elements can be missed (and that applies to every ministry). Our "somewhere" needed to be given a clear directive so that our end-goal for our kids could be achieved. Each ministry needs to adapt their "somewhere" so that it is best suited to the needs of the students.
For us, our large group time is for teaching of biblical content, growth of spiritual disciplines, and time of group worship. Our small groups are set up for the growth of relationships that are stemmed from a consistent community of kids and leaders, the review of the Bible through memory verses, and how to apply the lessons in everyday ways. I am looking forward to a new ministry year because with every start, comes new questions and challenges as a leader.
Here are two questions that I hope you can wrestle through:
- How are you equipping parents to leverage the "someones" and their influence in their kids' lives?
- How does your "somewhere" orient your ministry towards the end-goal you have for your kids?
*These are my thoughts from reading pages 1-37 of Creating A Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy & Elle Campbell