By Jana Magruder
A healthy kids ministry begins with the why. A kids ministry philosophy points to the core mission and values you put in place so that you can always point back and say, “Our kids ministry is about this.” As you pray through your church’s kids ministry philosophy, I encourage incorporating each of the following three components to create a healthy culture in your kids ministry.
1. Kingdom Expanding
A ministry philosophy based on a kingdom expanding mindset is healthy, as opposed to focusing on building up your own ministry. That may sound counterintuitive. You might wonder, “Am I not supposed to build up my ministry?” The problem occurs when ministry building drives us as opposed to expanding God’s kingdom.
Your kids ministry philosophy guides all that you do as you lead and also helps you better communicate with fellow leaders, volunteers, and families. If everyone understands that your kids ministry focuses on expanding God’s kingdom, then a lot of ministry will flow from your philosophy.
2. Heart Transforming
A heart transforming kids ministry focuses on the kids and families God brings into your ministry. Heart transformation should drive you, not behavior modification. Often, those of us who work with kids want to see behavior modification. We want to see good morals and values. But if we lead with that, kids may be getting more from their character education classes at school.
We must lead with Jesus because He is the only one who can transform hearts and He does it through His Word. All that we teach and do in our kids ministry should be rooted in Scripture and focused on Christ. We might be able to alter behavior, but we cannot transform hearts. A kids ministry philosophy that holds heart transformation with closed hands is one that can lead to much fruit.
3. Culture Shaping
As kids go through a kingdom expanding and heart transforming kids ministry, they will begin making decisions to follow Jesus as their own Lord and Savior. We must teach kids that the Great Commission is for them. We want them to impact the culture around them for Jesus and share Him with their friends, classmates, teammates, and neighbors.
Build in opportunities for kids to hear about, learn about, and pray for missionaries both locally and abroad. Help them begin to have a heart for the nations. A culture shaping ministry will thrive as opposed to kids being shaped by the culture. Ultimately, we want the kids in our ministry to become the goers and senders across the world, proclaiming the gospel for His glory.