Children’s ministry needs more and more kid-influencers who are continually increasing their “kidminfluence.” Yes, I made up this word. Sometimes we need a simple reminder to travel outside established boundaries to forge ahead and impact kids and families in our world.
Anyone can impact the heart of a child, but only kid-influencers who personally trust and follow Jesus make disciples and multiply discipleship. We need parents, teachers, coaches, pastors, mentors, leaders, and more to build into young lives side-by-side. When a community of children’s ministry leaders comes together, their influence is designed to increase – to impact more hearts, more deeply for Christ – one child and family at a time. In other words:
Kidmin (children’s ministry) x Influence (affect lives) = Kidminfluence (discipleship impact)
We’re about halfway through the school year in the U.S. Many church leaders and families are reflecting on fall, gearing up for winter, and hoping to survive through spring. Our audacious disciple-making mission in children’s ministry is not finished. This ministry year is just one in a lifelong series of ministry years as we wait for Christ’s return. If we want to last for the long haul, it’s important that we stay faithful today. The church cannot afford to drift off course when it comes to discipleship; and yet, the church can’t afford not to. We need a ministry GPS (of sorts) to guide our steps so we don’t lose our way.
Using a GPS (global positioning system) is simple. Listen to the voice; do what it says – as long as it’s calibrated correctly, of course. A Discipleship GPS works the same. Our Good Shepherd promises to lead, save, and protect us: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). Similar to the way a GPS tells us when to turn left or right, we can attune to Holy Spirit in the direction of our God-guided destiny in Christ.
In children’s ministry, there are three areas – G.P.S. – that must be calibrated correctly for us to stay heading toward lifelong discipleship impact. When your church’s ministry with kids and families is Gospel-empowered, Parent-engaged, and Servant-equipped, your kidminfluence is bound to increase.
Ready to reset your Discipleship GPS in your church and/or children’s ministry?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16a). Evangelism and discipleship go hand in hand. Trusting Christ for salvation and walking with Him are inseparable. How committed is your kidmin to presenting the Gospel in words and action? How prepared are your leaders to share their personal testimony to children and parents? How rooted in the gospel is your programming or curriculum? What do you participate in as a children’s ministry to bring the hope of salvation by serving people in need in and near your church? When your personal discipleship is centered in the gospel, it will overflow onto those you lead. Spend time reflecting on how essential the gospel is to you and your children’s ministry. Then, talk with your pastor and kidmin leaders about ways to strengthen your gospel roots.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). It’s not easy to build bridges between church and home. Families are easily swayed by competing priorities, and so are well-meaning ministries. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up believing that the best children’s ministry happens at church. Kids need parents – both biological and spiritual – to know, love, and serve them in the way of Christ. This happens whenever and wherever the church gathers, not just at weekend services or midweek programs. What are you doing differently this ministry season to understand the needs of families and seek to serve them? What can you offer parents to coach them in leading spiritual conversations and experiences at home? How can you challenge families who are already consistent and intentional about discipleship to befriend and build into another family? You need engaged parents in your ministry – parents who are active participants in discipleship that starts at home and is supported by the church.
“…To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). The Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts to every believer. When you couple these divine endowments with a person’s past experiences, personality, and passion areas, the result is a disciple who is ready for real ministry. There are people in your church who are uniquely equipped to serve kids and families toward lifelong discipleship. They naturally come with kidminfluence, and when they join forces with other kid-influencers, the effect is supernatural. What resources are you using to build into the leaders in your children’s ministry? What do you communicate to leaders about the value of Christ-like servanthood for the sake of kids and families? How frequently are you gathering them for team building and training? Find great ways to recruit, retain, and release qualified kidmin leaders. This ongoing practice is essential for effective lifelong discipleship impact.
If you and I truly desire that all children and youth throughout the world will come to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, then we need to be on our way, always about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), and courageously willing to reroute in step with God’s Spirit when, not if, anything gets in our way. You have the opportunity week in and week out to ensure your Discipleship GPS is calibrated. Having a Gospel-empowered, Parent-engaged, Servant-equipped ministry won’t happen overnight. You will constantly need to revisit these three areas to stay on track. Awana is here to serve you in whatever way we can so you can lead children’s ministry well over the long haul. Our prayer in 2016 is that you will increase in kidminfluence like never before. Let us know how it goes and how we can serve you along the way.