Administrating the ministry to children in a local church is more than ordering lessons, finding teachers for Sunday or running a Vacation Bible School each summer. Often the primary role of the Sunday School director is developing and maintaining membership and attendance rolls. The duties of the Sunday School superintendent or Children’s Pastor should go far beyond these responsibilities. A successful children’s ministry should be every pastor’s focus.
Start with a Purpose
Elmer Towns says, “The main function of Sunday School is to teach the Bible according to God’s methods. Through its classes, the dynamic gospel can make an impact on individuals, nurturing them toward maturity, and hence into communities, bringing revival to a nation.” An awesome challenge confronts Sunday School workers to accomplish this task! This requires a children’s ministry that is clear in its philosophy, and purpose fortified with dynamic well-trained workers.
A desire is needed on the part of leadership to have the best program possible for the children. This does not mean the most exciting, fun or loud. A children’s program does not have to be bigger and “better” than some other church’s program. A program where Christ is glorified and the truths of Scripture are taught and “lived out” in the children is a great program. Long term results show the success of a children’s ministry. How many are continuing through junior and senior high school, through college, and into adulthood holding to the truths and convictions that were instilled in them as children? This is the test of true success.
Teachers are Key
What then can the administration do to guide the program to those results? The most important aspect of a really good children’s ministry is the teachers. Recruiting good teachers from the ranks of the church membership is essential. One of the most important characteristics of a good teacher is their love for the children. If they do not say they love the kids and demonstrate that love, then consideration for that person as a teacher in the Sunday School should stop. But they have great qualifications! They are Bible College graduates! They must love the children. Great Sunday School teachers may not have the ability to read or write, but they must love the kids. Even highly respected members of the church and the community must meet these criteria. They must love the boys and girls.
I remember a man coming to me once and telling me very bluntly that he didn’t want to work with kids. He said, “I don’t like them and I don’t want to be here!” As a college student he had been assigned to work in Sunday School so he was stuck. Of course, so was I, with a person who didn’t love kids. I asked him to please pray that God would give him a love for the kids. The other workers loved the kids and he could also. He grudgingly agreed to pray. A few weeks later he came to me and when I first saw him his smile gave away the fact that something had changed. He informed me that he had gone visiting to the homes of some of the kids, and during that experience God had burdened his heart for the needs of the children, and he wanted to help them if he could. His statement was, “Mr. Tutton, you won’t have another problem with me, I love these kids.” His statement held true, there was never another problem, and he became one of our best workers.
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The selection process for Sunday School teachers is critical. An application form should be filled out. References should be checked, and an interview given in the selection process. A background check must be a part of this selection process.
Training of the Sunday School Workers is Vital.
Training in the use of the curriculum may be most important, but training in other areas will be beneficial to the success of the program. Preparation and presentation of the Bible lesson, giving the Gospel, giving an invitation, counseling for salvation, teaching the Christian child, giving a challenge for the Christian child, and storytelling techniques are just a few of the topics that should be included in an effective training program.
Church leaders must determine that the children’s ministry in their church will be the best it can be. No child in our church should feel neglected, or left out, or think to themselves, “WHAT ABOUT ME?”
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