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Are Your Children Excited to be in God’s House?

This Children’s Ministry Leadership Insight was originally written for a ‘Word of Challenge’ as a part of the Children’s Ministry Today E-Newsletter around the Labor Day holiday weekend in the U.S. and has been slightly adapted to fit the Children’s Ministry Inspiration Vault format.

Kids are beginning a new year of school, the fall season is upon us. It is another season of change. Change! It is a word almost too often heard, especially in the U.S. during this current political atmosphere, but one that is very important for us to consider. What is change? As mentioned a moment ago, the word is so often used but very seldom explained or defined as to what should be, should not be, is, or is not changing.

Let’s jump right into this thought without any more hesitation. If you knew for certain that this was your last weekend to minister to the children in your church, what would you change? What would you do differently?

I love to get the children so involved and excited to be in God’s house. It is truly important that they have an absolutely thrilling time while gathered together in worship. Too often, though, the thrilling and exhilarating is so focused upon that the eternal is skimmed over.

Let’s consider these two extremes:

If a teacher waits until the last moment to prepare and spends half of the time with the children reading the lesson, there needs to be change. Being in God’s house should be the most incredible time the children experience each week. After all, being in the presence of God is life-changing!

If a teacher offers game upon game, activity upon activity, contest upon contest, action song upon action song, but seldom leads the children into the deep truths of the Word of God or provides ample altar and worship time for the children to grow in their own one-on-one experience with God, there needs to be change.

Here is a great example for you to picture. Imagine an unpaved roadway with a ditch running along either side. One ditch is labeled "Fun", "Exciting", "Games", "Multimedia", etc… The other ditch is labeled "Liturgy", "Reading", "Study", "Tradition", etc… Where will you find the balance? The answer is quite simple…in the middle of the road!

Please understand that when I say balance, I am referring to a place where the natural (the physical teaching methods) and the supernatural meet. It is the place that enables children to both have a fun, exciting time and also meet with God in an experiential way (such as altar time and worship) that will eternally change their lives. It is the place where children realize God is relevant to their daily life events. It is the place where the power of the Holy Spirit is free to change the heart of each tender life so that his or her ultimate desire is to know God!

What would you change? Get serious about having fun! Have fun spending time in God’s presence!

Rev. Gary R. Linn

Rev. Gary R. Linn
Children’s Ministry Today

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Comments

Comments

  1. Henry Zonio says:

    I understand what you are saying, but the way balance looks like in each church will be different… as well as the idea of what “experiential” means as well. You have defined it very narrowly as “altar time and worship.” “Experiencing God” is more broad than down at the front, on your knees and crying… it also includes things like just being quiet for a while before God, serving others in a very practical and tangible way, enjoying creation, and yes in the midst of the fun and action-oriented activities… it also happens in the relationships kids have with one another and with the adult leaders… Just because we don’t “experience God” in more ways indicative of those in Pentacostalism does not mean we don’t experience God. In addition, limiting the definition of “experiencing God” to altar times and worship can cause a lot of guilt and confusion in kids who aren’t wired to experience God in that way.

  2. Thanks so much for participating in the CMIV. I believe we have the same perspective, so let me clarify what I was communicating through this post. I agree with your comments:

    – “Experiencing God” is more broad than down at the front, on your knees and crying..
    – it also includes things like just being quiet for a while before God, serving others in a very practical and tangible way, enjoying creation, and yes in the midst of the fun and action-oriented activities
    – it also happens in the relationships kids have with one another and with the adult leaders
    – Just because we don’t “experience God” in more ways indicative of those in Pentecostalism does not mean we don’t experience God

    These points, though, are not the intended focus of the article. The article is summarized in the sentence, “Too often, the thrilling and exhilarating is so focused upon that the eternal is skimmed over.”

    To some, church has become no more than a social charity-type organization. The challenge from the article is to motivate leaders toward earnest discipleship over their flock.

    It is impossible to discuss all aspects of any topic in one short post. All the aspects of “experiencing God” are not intended to be covered in this post, rather one specific aspect that is essential for children to have, and yet they are often not given the opportunity. The phrase “altar and worship” which created the picture in your mind of Pentecostalism is not at all what is being referred to here. As we’ve worked inter-denominationally for so many years, and always have altar and worship times in those services, the concept of Pentecostal experience was not in mind when writing the article. The examples of worship and altar refer to a time for children to verbally express love to God and listen for His voice. Frequently, children are neither given the opportunity for such experience or discipled as how to develop those abilities of expressing love to God and listening. For this particular experience to never take place in the life of a child would be tragic.

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