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Meeting Jesus

The stated goal of our Children’s Ministry is “To create spiritual environments and settings where kids can easily hear the voice of God, and respond.”

Basically we say that everything we do is meant to create an atmosphere whereby kids can hear Jesus.  As a father, it’s been my prayer for my own children that they’ll hear God’s voice when he calls them, and that they will be obedient and respond.  I’ve written about Ryan’s baptism HERE, and I’ve shared countless times about what we do to create these environments for children at our church.  I work with parents during the Child Dedication process, I put tools in the hands of parents to help them talk about Jesus with their kids in their own homes, and I work to create family-friendly events that bring everyone together.  However, I’ve been thinking about whether we create spaces during our weekend experiences for kids to hear Jesus.  I’m talking real live, prayer-filled moments where kids can encounter God.

This summer we’ve disbanded our small groups, and given large amounts of the summer off to our faithful Elementary small group leaders.  In the months between what was, and what is coming in August; we’ve been using Hillsong Big! curriculum.  One of my favorite elements of the Hillsong Big! curriculum is the built-in “ministry time.”  Ministry time consists of prayer stations, altar-type ministry, and it’s all done on a large group scale.  We’ve been able to get away with this in our large group sessions, as our numbers are usually down in the Summer months.  Can you say Summer swoon?

But here’s the learning: I’ve discovered during ministry time, that our kids are hearing God’s voice. They’re responding in real ways, and they’re taking those ministry moments home to their families.  I’m a HUGE advocate of the small group model for kids, and am committed to it’s development in our Children’s Ministry, yet  I’m already thinking of how I can move some of these great “ministry times” into our small groups.  Over the next few days I’m going to unpack some thoughts into how we can make our small groups a place that ministry can happen for our kids in the atmosphere of community.

Do you have much experience offering large group ministry time to children?  Is that even the culture of your church?

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Joe McGinnis · June 1, 2010

    Great post ~ offers me another challenge to continue to evaluate…and re-evaluate our curriculum AND our current structure. Small groups are vital to the consistency and connectivity of our kids. Looking forward to hearing more!

  2. Joy Bowen · June 1, 2010

    Great post Jonathan…! Have you read “Teaching Kids Authentic Worship” yet? There are a lot of great ideas there…