A Ministry of Make and Deepen Disciples

Building a Children’s Ministry Team Part 1: Christ’s view of Discipling Children

When God entered our world, God chose to enter it as a child. God chose to identify with children as much as with adults. Children are important to Jesus. The first-person Jesus raises from the dead is a little girl. Jesus receives the gift of a boy to feed 5000 people. Children are present as Jesus teaches. And in Mark 13, Jesus is indignant when his disciples try to keep children way. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Jesus then laid his hands on the children and blessed them. Regardless of how others view children and children’s ministry, for Jesus discipling children is a high calling. Look what scripture has to say about the importance of discipling children and their place in the kingdom:

  • Children are welcome in God’s kingdom. (Matthew 18:2-5, Mark 9:36-37, Luke 18:15-17)
  • The Word of God is for children. (Deuteronomy 31:10-13)
  • God specifically calls us to teach children God’s Word. (Psalm 78:5-7, Proverbs 22:6)
  • The promise of the gospel is for children. (Acts 2:38-39)
  • Children can be God’s ambassadors. (1 Samuel 3:1-19)
  • Parents and the church are called as spiritual partners. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
  • Children reflect how we are to enter the kingdom. (Luke 18:16)
  • Children are the continuing expression of our spiritual heritage. (Deuteronomy 6:2, 6:4-9)

Clearly, Christ isn’t calling volunteers to fill an opening. Children’s ministry is not about fulfilling “duty,” but nurturing a generation toward a deepening faith in Jesus. Christ calls those who are willing, to be disciples who make disciples. Jesus sets the example, not only for reaching, nurturing, and empowering adults, but for reaching, nurturing, and empowering children.

Further, since most of us come to faith between the ages of 4-14, and the spiritual moorings of children are solidified by the age of ten, those who minister with children are engaged in discipling at the most critical time of a person’s life. If someone wants to make a significant and eternal impact for the kingdom, children’s ministry is a good place to be.

Steve Burger

Steve is the Director of Children, Family and Intergenerational Ministries for the Evangelical Covenant Church. He has served churches in New York and Minnesota with his wife Marti, prior to serving in his present position. Their daughter Melissa Wall serves as Pastor of Deer Grove Covenant Church, Palatine, IL, son-in-law, Fredrik serves in the ECC Denominational Offices, and their son Paul and his wife Britta are pastors at Bethany Covenant Church in Mt Vernon, WA. Steve can recall moments from infancy and feels closest to God when he is with children. He is committed to supporting and partnering with those who minister with children, families and intergenerational communities of faith.

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