Every discipline has it’s own tools of the trade. Hairstylists help people look great with shampoo, scissors, and sculpting gel. Accountants make sure things add up using spreadsheets, calculators, and complex formulas. Mechanics tinker with cars using cabinets full of precision instruments. Florists create beautiful arrangements with clippers, wire, and toile. Athletes compete using bats, mitts, clubs, racquets, or whatever their sport requires. Look to any profession or hobby and you’ll find essential tools are needed to ensure lasting effectiveness. However, it’s not the tools that build lasting results. It’s a person’s God-given ability to wield the tools of their trade with proficiency and power.
So, what are the tools of the trade when it comes to lifelong discipleship in children’s ministry?
Some kidmin leaders get tripped up thinking that they have to be a rock star worship leader, an accomplished illusionist or puppeteer, a dazzling cartoonist, or a master Bible storytelling actor to build into a child’s life. Yes, there are incredibly talented kid-influencers in the world of kidmin who employ spectacular props, gear, and gadgets. And yes, these tools can be used in incredible ways to help lead kids to know, love, and serve Christ forever. But, did you realize there are under-appreciated tools of the trade that are available to – and essential for – every disciple maker in children’s ministry?
Whether you’re a disciple maker who happens to be an incredible balloon artist, or you’re just an average everyday individual who loves kids, there are five power tools you can use to build into a child’s lifelong discipleship. If you’re willing, you can partner with God to become proficient at using them and experiencing His power at work in the lives of children. These tools are accessible to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. And best of all, kidmin leaders don’t need any tricks up their sleeves to put them into practice.
Check out these five tools and verses from the power-packed book of 2 Thessalonians!
Start using them regularly and share them with leaders, parents, and anyone who serves kids.
Power Tool #1: Prayer
To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power. 2 Thess. 1:11
Prayer is an important topic of conversation for many people, but the power of prayer comes from actually praying not just talking about it. In your children’s ministry, you can build up a child by praying for and with them regularly. Modeling this can be as simple as thanking God for His creation or snack time. Commit to pray specifically for the children you make eye contact with in your church or community and watch for God’s power at work.
Power Tool #2: Scripture
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 2 Thess. 2:15
When we saturate ourselves in God’s Word, it naturally flows through our minds, off our tongues, and into our actions. The Bible is central to discipleship in the way of Jesus. So, make sure you’re getting into Scripture with kids. Talk to them about what you’re learning as much or more than telling them what you want them to learn. God’s Word is a constant guide for powerfully building up kids of all ages as lifelong followers of Him.
Power Tool #3: Words
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you. 2 Thess. 3:1
Walk through the mall or your church halls and just listen. How do moms and dads speak to their kids? What words do children hear and see in a given day? There are positive and negative messages all around today’s kids. Children desperately need to know they are loved, capable, and valuable to God. They need to know they matter to us too. You can build into a child by using her or his name, telling them something you appreciate about them, and why you believe the Lord made them just the way they are. Speak affirming words to kids intentionally and regularly so their hearts can hear it. It will shape how they view themselves, Jesus, and their role as a child of God in this world.
Power Tool #4: Example
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 2 Thess. 3:6
Character, like fruit on a tree, shows up externally and reflects what’s going on inside a person. Kids are watching you to find out what followers of Jesus think, say, and do. They look to you for direction whether you realize it or not. By just being present, you are modeling Christ for better or worse in the eyes of a child. Take heart, you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to be mindful that your actions speak louder than words. Walk alongside kids as you both walk with God. You can set a powerful example simply by showing up and serving others.
Power Tool #5: Time
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thess. 3:16
Substantial relationships need significant investments of time. The desire to build into kids must be met with consistent interactions in community. Moments become meaningful when they are purposeful, frequent, and cumulative. You have the opportunity, as a member of a child’s spiritual family, to maximize your time together so lifelong discipleship results. This can be done in formal and informal settings, face-to-face and through calls and postcards, at church gatherings or in connection with a kids’ home life. If you want to impact kids for Christ for eternity, get comfortable with the reality that it’s going to take time.
What Tools Are In Your Toolbox?
There are more power tools for children’s ministry than Prayer,Scripture, Words, Example,and Time. These five are just a handful of essentials for lasting impact in building up kids in lifelong discipleship. What are some other kidmin tools of the trade that you’ve discovered? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments below.