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Turn the Dial: 3 Essentials for Every Children’s Ministry

Leadership / Ministries //

Have you ever accidentally bumped the radio dial in your car? Next to nails screeching on a chalkboard, there’s nothing more annoying than listening to distorted music. The crackling sound of white noise is not appreciated when you’re trying to hear your favorite song. In this scenario, fixing the problem is simple – turn the dial. Adjusting the knob a little bit can make a big difference.

As I was fidgeting with my car radio recently, I realized a few similar principles apply to leading in children’s ministry. Obviously guiding kids, families, and leaders to trust and follow Christ for life is more complex than turning a dial…or is it?

Any church that offers children’s ministry programming recognizes how vital it is when it’s done well. On the other hand, pastors and parents cringe when kids are part of something sub-par or misguided. So what’s the solution?

We must make sure that whatever we invite children and kid-influencers to be part of is dialed in to what really matters most. Below are three essentials for every children’s ministry. You can use these to assess how you’re doing today and where you can turn the dial in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

1. Power On – Stay Connected to Christ

What’s the easiest way to know if electricity is flowing to a lamp or a stereo? Turn it on! A working power source is significant; it ensures that whatever’s connected runs properly. Consider your children’s ministry. Is it connected to Christ as the primary source of power or something else? Do you depend on dynamic curriculum or communicators? Do you believe that without a huge budget and a building you can’t impact kids and families for eternity? Or, are you confident that you and your leaders are clearly connected directly to the power of God’s Spirit?

Remember these words from Jesus in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” Ministry leaders tend to forget where their power for ministry comes from. God is ultimately responsible for the resources and the results. Challenge yourself and those you lead to turn the dial by staying connected to Christ as the sole source of power in all things. Pray that God will show you fresh ways to keep reconnecting with Jesus together. Your power source will impact you and your investment in the lifelong discipleship of kids and families.

2. Tune In – Align with the Father’s Signal

My kids have no idea what “rabbit ears” have to do with TV (but I bet you do!). It was always a challenge to get a clear picture by moving each antenna in just the right position. We live in a digital age and much has changed. But, I still have a tuning dial on the radio in my car. My kids know how to eliminate the static in order to get the clearest signal. They know the value of tuning in to what they want to hear.

Followers of Jesus have the precious gifts of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. The Bible provides words of comfort, correction, challenge, and more. The Lord guides His children individually and in community. We need to stay in tune with the grace and truth of God if we are going to love like Christ in every way, every day.

John 15:9 is central to our relationship with Jesus: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” We need to abide continuously to trust and obey our Heavenly Father. In other words, we need to tune in and stay that way moment by moment.

In your children’s ministry, how can you help kids, leaders, and parents abide in the presence of Jesus? Do you take time to slow down, to worship, to pray, to listen attentively to what God and His Word have to say? Tuning in to the Father’s signal isn’t something that happens on it’s own. Find practical ways to elevate the value of listening to God together as a children’s ministry community. His signal of love will come in clearer and clearer.

3. Volume Up – Love Others Out Loud

I heard Bob Goff, author of Love Does, recently say, “Love everyone, always.” He believes, and I agree, that Jesus wasn’t speaking metaphorically when He said, “Love your neighbor” and “Love your enemies.” In a world where kids and families are experiencing hardships and heartache daily, God’s unconditional love cuts through the pain loud and clear. One of the most radical things Christ ever said was: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The disciples learned firsthand that the Savior of the world was willing to die because of love so people could live for love.

Your church and children’s ministry has an amazing opportunity when it comes to broadcasting the message of Christ. You don’t need big speakers to help the world hear about faith or hope or love. People will be drawn to Christ through the love you express in who you are, what you say, and how you serve. Why you love will come through loudly because you welcomed kids and families in need with open arms.

So, where do you need to turn up the volume when it comes to proclaiming love in your children’s ministry? Is there a unique way you can serve the people in the surrounding neighborhood? Are there kids in the schools or sports programs that need extra tutoring or mentoring? Can you get several families together for a fun night that both believers and non-believers would enjoy? Get a team together and get creative. The watching world will know you are with Jesus because love can be heard miles away.


I’d love to hear your creative ideas for implementing the 3 essentials above in your children’s ministry. Use the comment field below or track me down on Twitter @DanLovaglia.

  • What keeps you relying primarily on God’s power in serving kids and families?
  • How are you more consistently tuning in to the presence of Christ personally? As a ministry?
  • What is helping you and your leaders turn up the volume when it comes to loving like Jesus? How is this reaching beyond your church walls?

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About the Author

Dan Lovaglia | Awana® Director of New Ministries & Parent Engagement As Director of New Ministries and Parent Engagement at Awana, Dan Lovaglia and the team he leads are finding fresh ways to equip kids, families and ministry leaders to know, love and serve Christ. He brings 15 years of discipleship ministry experience to the table and a passion for life-changing teaching, training and team-building. Dan and his wife Kate live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with their two fantastic middle-school-age sons and dog Wrigley. Follow Dan’s adventures on Twitter and Instagram @DanLovaglia.