5 Things I Hate about Children’s Ministry
#3 The Children’s Minister that Ignores Early Childhood
My official title at Trinity Church is as the “Pastor of Children’s Ministry.” If you ask people at my church what I do, they’d say that I “work with the kids.” If you asked specifically which age I work with, I bet 9 out of 10 people would say that I work with Elementary age kids. I do indeed work with Elementary kids, however Elementary age kids only make up half of the kids I work with each weekend. Is this true at your church?
#3 on my Hate List today is the Children’s Pastor that ignores all the Nursery, Preschoolers, and Kindergartners at their church. By ignore I mean that they don’t program specifically with preschoolers in mind, they don’t spend budget monies on preschoolers, and they leave preschoolers out of all special events. These CP’s spend 99% of their time spiritually developing grade school students, and then hire a part-time childcare worker to prepare the expanded nursery areas. I’ve seen churches call everything under 1st grade, “Nursery.” They then buy ample supplies of goldfish crackers, cans of Lysol, and wet wipes and call it a ministry of the church.
“So let that be a lesson to one and to all; a person is a person, no matter how small.” –Horton Hears a Who
Kids are kids, whether they’re 6 months old or 10 years old. We should be striving to make all areas of ministry to kids as excellent as humanely possible. We have scientific proof that kids are absorbing their environments from the very first days of life, and I think as a church we should always work to direct kids towards Christ…no matter what age they are.
Where do we start? It starts with nursery workers that pray and teach children to make God the center of their lives. Did you catch that? Nursery workers that see their jobs as leaders, and not childcare providers. It will take time, and for me it’s a continual changing situation, but it will prove to be worth it in the end. As the kids grow, we expand what is taught to them. Building on each lesson, week after week, and month after month of physical and spiritual development.
In fact, if you want children in Elementary school to seek the things of God, then reach them from the earliest age. There is no excuse in our world now, as we live in a day and time that has some fantastic material for this age group. I encourage you to check out Elevate Jr., First Look, and the plethora of other great material out there by publishing companies in Christendom. The leaders in churches around the world are awakening to the trend of pointing kids to Christ from the earliest of ages, and it’s time you jumped on the band wagon.
Spend the time necessary to see if your nursery and early childhood areas are really reaching kid with the Gospel of Jesus. Don’t be tricked into spending all your energy and time on the “Face” of your ministry, and instead work to reach all the kids in your church. Always be on guard against the Babysitting mindset of Early Childhood ministry. It’s not just childcare, it’s foundational care. Starting laying the groundwork for kids to find Christ as clearly as possible.