A message from one of our D6 Conference sponsors.
If you are invested in resilient child discipleship, you always notice kids. You spot them at the mall, on playgrounds, in grocery stores, at family gatherings and in church. The presence of kids inspires you to know, love and serve Christ more fully and with greater focus, and share that passion with the children you minister to. You can’t imagine feeling any differently. But what if you do? How can you revive in your heart a desire to reach and disciple the kids in your care? Let’s set the stage and engage in five passions to strengthen you.
Jesus’ Heart for Kids Sets the Stage
To set the stage for strengthening your heart as a child discipleship maker, it’s important to revisit Jesus’ posture and practice toward children. He valued them highly and loved on them surprisingly.
And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And He took them in his arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them (Mark 10:13-16).
Nothing should get in the way of boys and girls coming to Christ, especially hard-hearted adults. We can’t miss the importance of passionate children’s ministry and having hearts that are fully fueled to reach kids with the gospel.
Five Passions To Strengthen Your Heart to Reach and Disciple Kids
There are at least five passions you can focus on in your ministry to strengthen the hearts of you and your leaders as child disciple makers. Build these passion areas, and your heart to reach kids with the Gospel will be that more vibrant.
1. Use Your Environment to Honor God
When kids and families show up in your church, do they recognize God is present and respected? Is it clear that knowing, loving and serving Christ is at the center of your ministry? How is the importance of worshiping the Lord emphasized in everything you think, say, and do?
If you are committed to celebrating God for who He is and what He’s done in your life, that will spill over into your children’s ministry. Kids and families will come face to face with the awe and wonder that results from encounters with Jesus. If your heart for Christ and the power of the gospel has grown cold, confess this to Him and ask Him to lead you so you can be a positive influence on others.
The need for child discipleship is critical—now more than ever. As parents, you are likely feeling the need for your kids to know God and His Word but perhaps feel unequipped to take on another commitment. How do you have those discipleship moments in a short time commitment window?
Brite Families offers an easy-to-use weekly online Bible devotional experience for your whole family. It comes with Bible conversation starters, kid-led videos, and activity challenges that will pull your family together as you all grow in spiritual truth. Use promocode D6 to get your first three months.
2. Be Authentic In Your Relationships
The family of God is the only community on earth in which imperfect people are perfectly loved. We cannot flawlessly love one another this side of Heaven, but the training ground of church fellowship is right where we need to be.
Offer kids and families a safe place to be cared for and encouraged by being transparent with who you are today and who Jesus is changing you to be. Then let God’s Spirit use humility, grace, and truth to do an extraordinary work in their lives. Transparent, genuine, family-like relationships strengthen your heart and your ministry’s heart for discipleship.
3. Focus on Serving the Real Needs of Families
Do kids and families come to your children’s ministry as a weekly option or an oasis? Do they show up once in a while or as part of their rhythm of life? You will know the difference by listening to how parents, caregivers, and kids start talking about church.
- “We love our church family.”
- “I can’t wait to see my leader and friends every week.”
- “Thank you for serving us in our time of need.”
- “God is using the teaching and worship to change our home.”
- “I didn’t know where to turn; the Holy Spirit led us here.”
You can strengthen the heart of ministry in your church as it gets strengthened in you. Your children’s ministry needs to offer experiences that bring life to people. This happens as you focus on serving people’s real needs, not just running great programs.
4. Challenge Yourself and Others To Engage More With Christ
Salvation is free; discipleship will cost you everything. Jesus didn’t mince words with His followers. He let them know what it would take to be His disciple: drop everything and follow. There’s a time and place to call people out, to challenge them to take a higher road. This is true for adults and kids alike.
Challenge the kids and families in your church, and leaders who serve them, to engage with Christ in more meaningful ways. It’s unlikely you will tell them to read their Bible more, pray for people, or give sacrificially without doing so yourself. You don’t need to be perfect to set the pace. Just be bold and invite them to take the challenge with you. It will be a straight path to strengthening your heart for discipleship.
5. Keep Eternity in Mind When Interacting With Others
This final children’s ministry passion area is fundamental to having a heart to reach kids with the Gospel and engage them in lifelong discipleship. When you engage in conversations, do you think about the other person’s eternal destiny? It’s possible you’ve grown a bit lazy in this aspect of faith in Christ. If so, it’s time to dust off your feet and press onward. There are probably family members, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who could benefit from your loving nudge toward salvation.
As a children’s ministry leader, raising awareness and equipping the members of your team to be eternity-minded in their interactions with kids and families is of utmost importance. The heart of evangelism in your ministry can’t afford to go into cardiac arrest. God longs to use you and your church so that all children throughout the world will come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ.
God Will Honor Your Desire to Reach and Disciple Kids
If you find your heart to reach and disciple kids is fading, invest in the five passions mentioned above. Engage in them privately or ask a friend to join you. Just as someone reached out to you and helped make you into the resilient disciple you are, God will honor your true desire to do the same for others.
Finally, amid the rapid rise of secularism, especially amongst America’s youth, we need you and others to bring their perspectives, insights, and best practices to the table. The future of the faith depends on it. To that end, Awana is excited to invite you to the Child Discipleship Forum, a unique gathering, both in-person and online, to create space for intentional thought and conversations about cultural awareness, child advocacy, and local children’s ministry practice.
Awana has developed this unique gathering, both in person and online, to create space for intentional thought and conversations about cultural awareness, child advocacy, and local children’s ministry practice.
Our conversations, both on stage and off, will greatly benefit the Kingdom for eternity. May we — a generation of loving, caring adults — gather in obedience, humility and anticipation for what our heavenly Father has for us.
Our prayer is that you will continue to reach and disciple kids. Afterall, today’s kids are the future of the Church.
Blog written by the Awana editorial team.