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Ministry Training for 5th Graders

Involving your children’s church kids in active ministry is an important step for their spiritual growth and stability. After a child has developed a ministry concept and seen God work through him (or her), it is rare for that child to ever abandon his faith. This fortification of a child’s faith by involving him in ministry is particularly necessary for your preteen children who are already facing pressures and temptation that many of us never faced until adulthood. The following are a few ideas you may wish to incorporate.
First, you may want to consider running a ministry club for your 5th graders. Some churches that run 3 separate service hours on Sunday morning have a time for the children to be in Sunday School and a time for them to be in children’s church, but are at a loss for where those children should go for the third hour. This would be a prime time to start a ministry club. A ministry club is fairly easy to get started. The children would be involved in learning some type of creative art ministry presentation during the class. For example, they may work for 3 weeks on a particular drama presentation and then present it on the 4th Sunday in the children’s church or for the Sunday School classes or in the morning worship. After that 4th Sunday presentation, take the remaining class time for a small celebration party for a job well done in addition to discussion of the new presentation you will begin working on the next week. Then choose a different type of creative art ministry for the next 4 weeks, such as human video, or a mime to music, or a puppet team song, or a black light puppetry presentation, etc.Second, you may wish to train your 5th graders to be deacon/deaconesses, or ministry leaders, in your children’s church. We have done this very successfully as have many other churches. Our deacon/deaconess training covers the biblical requirements for a church leader, personal devotions, praying in faith, the help of the Holy Spirit, and training in altar ministry to their peers. After the biblical training and thorough job descriptions, the students entered a rotation cycle for the various types of ministry opportunities in the children’s church setting. It is an important step to train these kids to be involved in ministry in the church before they hit their teen years if we want them to: stay in the church as they get older, feel a need for spiritual growth, participate in a way that helps them understand that they are an essential part of the body of Christ, and become spiritual leaders among their peers. The training program we use is online under Discipleship in the Outlet Mall. It’s called, TLC: True Leadership for Children.

Third, sometimes there needs to be a consideration of re-structuring the children’s ministry department for the sake of the preteens. Some churches, due to use of a curriculum for early elementary that isn’t age appropriate to the preteens, have already removed preteen kids from the children’s department even though they are too young for the youth group. This allows them to fall through the gap at a critical time in their lives by: not having an age appropriate worship service, not allowing for ministry experience, and creating the feeling that they aren’t valued enough by the church to have their own pastor. Fifth graders can be effectively incorporated into your children’s ministry department! You may need to seriously consider changing your curriculum to one that includes teaching appropriate through 5th grade. (It is easier to teach at a level that is a little challenging to the first graders but not over their heads than to teach beneath the level of the fifth graders and expect to keep their interest.) Making this change will benefit the preteens by providing security in the transition from children’s to youth department, fill the gap of spiritual teaching between early elementary and teen levels, and allow needed ministry opportunity. If your fifth graders are not in a ministry department at this time or in an age appropriate worship service and you need to change curriculum to bring your fifth graders back into a children’s worship service experience, remember the following points. Be sure to inform your fifth graders that you are changing the curriculum for their benefit and because of your concern for them. If this is not done, they will feel that you are demoting them to a younger class and negative feelings will result. That’s just the nature of kids. It will also make things easier for them the leadership program is already set up and they realize they are working toward the goal of ministering to the other children. (If you feel incapable of handling fifth graders in your children’s service due to behavior problems, take a few moments to read the Vault articles on: Participation; Maintaining Attention & Alleviating Discipline Problems; and Role of Music & Worship.)

© by Alisa Linn
Children’s Ministry Today

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